House prices fall as market 'holds its breath ahead of referendum' - report


Property values fell back by 0.4% in May as the housing market held its breath for the outcome of the EU referendum, a report has found.

But Slough is defying the dampened price trend - with house prices there surging 23% over the last year - according to the index from estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains.

The month-on-month price fall across England and Wales marked the sharpest decline since November 2011 and took the average price of a home across the country to £293,599.

Across England and Wales generally, property values were 6.8% higher than a year earlier.

Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains, said: "The housing market is holding its breath ahead of the EU referendum and after a rapid sprint at the start of the year."

Mr Gill added that there was "cause for David Brent to celebrate", as house prices in Slough surged at a faster annual rate than any other area.

He said property values in the Berkshire town had been boosted by the Crossrail railway development as well as the number of technology-related jobs available there.

The average price of a home in Slough was now £315,704 - up by £59,692 on a year ago.

Mr Gill continued: "Uncertainty in other parts of England and Wales has not hindered growth in Slough."

The Your Move and Reeds Rains index found that in London, house prices had slipped from the previous month's record high, falling by 0.3% or £1,769 month on month.

This pushed average property values in the capital back under the £600,000 mark, with the value of a typical home in the city falling to £598,421.

A report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) predicted this week that house prices were heading for a short-term dip in the coming months amid uncertainty over the EU referendum outcome, before heading back upwards.

For the first time since 2012, more surveyors expect prices to fall in the next three months than those predicting an increase, Rics said.