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Worst October for homeowners since financial crash as sales dry up

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
UK house prices have barely risen in October. Photo: Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images

UK homeowners have seen property prices rise at the lowest rate in October since the 2008 financial crisis more than a decade ago, new figures suggest.

The latest house price index from Rightmove shows the average price of properties coming to market was up 0.6% on the previous month to £306,700.

The market usually sees an autumn bounce in sales and prices as buyers and sellers look to move after the summer holidays and in time for Christmas.

But this October’s uplift marks the smallest month-on-month price increase since October 2008.

The number of sales has also plummeted compared to last year, with stagnant prices and Brexit uncertainty reported to be deterring sellers.

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Sales volumes are down 13.5% on October 2018. Rightmove said some property owners could be holding off in the hope of a recovery in prices before they sell up.

Nick Leeming, chair of estate agent Jackson-Stops, said the market was being driven by “must-movers” instead, reflected in the number of sales falling through sinking to a four-year low.

“Although the UK is yet to experience an autumn bounce it doesn’t mean one isn’t on its way,” he said.

The figures show the number of sales has begun to pick up in London, prompting speculation prices could soon resume an upward trend now widely regarded as the norm.

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“It certainly looks as if we’ve seen the bottom of the London market and an uplift in the number of sales being agreed is a very positive sign,” said Marc von Grundherr, director of lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves.

“The capital has been hit hard but is yet to go down and as we enter into what could be the final round of Brexit negotiations, an uplift in positive market sentiment should see the London market regain its bricks and mortar strength and stamina,” he added.