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UK house price growth remains sluggish

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The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) survey showed that UK house price growth in October had slowed for the fourth consecutive month.

London bore the blunt of the decline in the number of first-time buyers with 62% more surveyors reporting a fall in demand across the capital. The rest of the UK experienced a net balance dip of -18% bringing sales expectations to their lowest since the beginning of the year.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have the most optimistic outlook in the run up to Christmas with net balances of 36% and 37% respectively. The news is much better for the letting market, however, as demand continued to grow nationally. This has been particularly true in East Anglia, Scotland and the North of England.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said:

“The flatter trend in the market is partly a reflection of potential buyers becoming a little more cautious about making a purchase as more stringent lending criteria has made it harder to access mortgage finance.

“An increasing awareness of the approaching general election also appears to be contributing to the softer market if the responses to the latest survey are anything to go by. However, with new instructions still flat at a headline level as has been the case for most of the last year it seems implausible that the dip in demand will result in very much of a decline in house prices.”

Halifax reported earlier this month that monthly house prices fell by 0.4% between September and October. Meanwhile Broker Conveyancing, the broker-focused conveyancing distributor, has revealed its transaction and remortgage instruction levels have continued to show a month-on-month rise.

Compared to September’s figures, the total number of transaction instructions in October – comprised of both sales and purchases – increased by 13%, with remortgage instructions increasing by 6% over the same period. Total instructions for October were 11% up on the previous month.

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