Brexit turmoil drags UK property price growth to lowest this year

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
A man pushes a bike up a steep residential street in Nottingham, central England on November 17, 2017. Shoppers at Nottingham's Christmas market complained about higher prices and volunteers handed out food parcels just a few streets away, even as retailers sought to dispel Brexit gloom with Black Friday sales. Britain is gripped by a cost of living crisis sparked in part by the nosedive in the value of the pound after the country voted for Brexit in June 2016, pushing up the price of imported foodstuffs. / AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF / TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Kenza BRYAN        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Homes in Nottingham as UK property price growth has slowed. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

UK property price growth has slowed to its lowest this year, with experts blaming Brexit turmoil for killing off the typical autumn bounce.

New figures from Halifax show 0.9% growth in average prices in October compared to a year earlier, the weakest year-on-year growth of any month in 2019 so far.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said sales and price growth will remain “subdued’ for as long as political and economic uncertainty continues.

News of the sluggish growth compared to trends over the past few decades came as Britain teetered on the brink of crashing out of the EU without a deal on 31 October.

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Many businesses and analysts have warned a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for UK firms, jobs, consumers, and homeowners, rupturing decades of increased trade ties overnight with the EU, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

The Brexit deadline was pushed back after parliament forced prime minister Boris Johnson to delay Brexit and an election was called for 12 December.

“Perhaps a tad predictable that as we receive yet another Brexit-based encore from Westminster, the UK housing market also delivers the lowest rate of house price growth so far this year,” said Marc von Grundherr, director of London letting and sales agent Benham and Reeves.

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Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Although the market remains fairly subdued, which may actually be a good thing in view of wider political and other concerns, we are finding it continues to be supported by fewer but more serious buyers.”

Adrian Anderson, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said it was “not all doom and gloom” as mortgage rates are cheap.

“Lenders have to be more competitive than ever to attract business, resulting in a price war with mortgage rates falling significantly this year, benefiting borrowers,” he said.

The Halifax data showed a 0.1% month-on-month drop in prices in October, with the average price in the UK now just over £232,000.

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