UK house prices have fallen for the fourth quarter in a row, despite levelling off in recent weeks, according to new figures from the Halifax.
The fall in the three months to August takes house price growth to its lowest level in four years.
According to the Halifax house price index, the average value of a property in the UK rose 0.4% month on month, partially offsetting falls recorded in May and June when prices fell by 0.9%, but fell by 0.2% over the last three months.
This is the first time house prices have fallen for four consecutive quarters since November 2012 and marks a sharp fall in growth since March 2016, when it stood at 10%.
Russell Galley, the managing director of Halifax Community Bank, said that the slow growth in house prices was down to wages lagging behind the rate of inflation, leaving household incomes under pressure.
He said; “This squeeze on spending power, together with the impact on property transactions of the stamp duty changes in 2016 now being realised, along with affordability concerns, appear to have contributed to weaker housing demand.”
The figures come as the number of house sales also falls. According to data published by HMRC, sales declined by 3% between May and June to 96,910, the lowest level since October 2016.
In their house price index, Halifax also referred to statistics from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which showed the number of instructions to sell fell for the 16th month in a row in June, with the number of homes for sale reaching an all-time low in that month.
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said; “The speed of house price growth has slowed substantially, and at a national level average prices are still flatlining rather than falling, but what growth there is is meandering and listless, with prices being propped up by record low levels of supply.
Low house price growth or even falling prices could leave many homeowners with outstanding mortgage debt vulnerable to negative equity, where the value of the property is less than their remaining mortgage debt.
If you’re concerned about how your finances might be affected by falling house prices or if you need to move on from a property in negative equity, contact Negative Equity UK on 0161 631 2727 or online at negativeequityuk.com.