UK house prices jump as average home tops £250,000 for first time | Business


UK house prices rose at the fastest annual rate in more than four years in October but the mortgage lender Halifax said the market would slow over the coming months because of new coronavirus lockdown rules and a weaker economic backdrop.

Halifax, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, said in October the average price of a home topped £250,000 for the first time, with prices up 7.5% compared with a year earlier. It was the strongest rate of annual growth since June 2016.

The housing market has benefited from a temporary stamp duty holiday on properties up to £500,000, and a so-called race for space, with many people reconsidering their lifestyles and looking for larger houses, or rural homes, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, a 0.3% rise in average UK house prices between September and October, to £250,457, was the weakest rate of monthly growth since the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the stamp duty holiday in July. Halifax said the market was likely to slow further during the second wave of Covid-19.

Russell Galley, Halifax’s managing director, said: “While government support measures have undoubtedly helped to delay the expected downturn in the housing market, they will not continue indefinitely and, as we move through autumn and into winter, the macroeconomic landscape in the UK remains highly uncertain.

“Though the renewed lockdown is set to be less restrictive than earlier this year, it bears out that the country’s struggle with Covid-19 is far from over. With a number of clear headwinds facing the housing market, we expect to see greater downward pressure on house prices as we move into 2021.”

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