LONDON (Reuters) – Asking prices for houses in England and Wales flatlined in September for the first time in 19 months, according to a survey on Friday that showed a small fall in prices in London.
Property data company Hometrack said house prices stagnated in September for the first time since January 2013, after rising 0.1 per cent in each of the previous two months.
London was the only region in which house prices fell – by 0.1 per cent – with fewer than 1 per cent of London postcode districts reporting higher prices.
The survey is the latest sign that Britain’s housing market has cooled after strong house price growth in the first half of this year, hit in part by tougher checks on mortgage applicants and more sellers putting their properties on the market.
“While this slowdown can be attributed partly to seasonal factors – including a slight hangover from a slow August – it’s clear that agents are wary about the direction of the market as a result of weaker demand and lower sales volumes,” said Richard Donnell, Hometrack’s director of research.
He said speculation about an interest rate rise by the Bank of England, warnings about a house price bubble and this month’s Scottish independence referendum might have fanned uncertainty in the market.
Earlier this week, industry data showed British banks approved the smallest number of home loans in a year during August, while house price growth slowed sharply according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and mortgage lender Halifax.