House prices dipped for second month in a row in July, index finds

House prices dipped for the second month in a row in July as the market continues to “tread water”, according to an index.

Across the UK, the average house price in July was £236,120 – marking a 0.2% month-on-month fall, Halifax said.

The latest decrease follows a 0.4% month-on-month price fall in June.

But property values in July were still 4.1% higher than a year earlier, the index found.

July’s annual change figure of 4.1% comes against the backdrop of relatively low growth in the corresponding period in 2018, which has had an impact on year-on-year comparisons, Halifax said.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “The average UK house price fell slightly for a second month, as the market continues to tread water with marginal increases or decreases in each monthly period.

“That said, it’s worth remembering that while economic uncertainty continues to weigh on the market, the overall trend actually remains one of comparative stability, with average prices down by less than £600 over the last three months.

“We have seen a reported drop-off in the number of properties sold during the early months of summer, which may lead some to speculate a downturn is on the horizon.

“However, new buyer inquiries are up, and favourable mortgage affordability – driven by low interest rates and strong wage growth – should continue to underpin prices for the time being.”

He said in the longer-term: “We believe there is unlikely to be a step change in market activity until buyers and sellers see some form of resolution to the current economic uncertainty.”

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club said: “Housing market activity seemingly got some help from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March, but the overall benefit looks to have been limited.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “It is still very much steady as she goes for the housing market.

“The summer is always quieter as people head off on their holidays but with new buyer inquiries up, there are encouraging signs that business may pick up in the autumn.

“However, until the Brexit deadline of October 31 has passed, it seems very unlikely that there will be a serious uptick in activity.”

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