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ONS figures show slight drop in house prices at the end of 2015

by Gary Whittaker

The start of 2016 might have seen records broken in terms of asking prices and the number of buyers milling about in the property market, but according to the newly released official data for the end of 2015, December saw an uncharacteristic slowing in the market.

In the latest market analysis released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), it was revealed that prices in December were up by 6.7 per cent when compared to the same month in 2014. However, while this is still positive, it was markedly slower than the 7.7 per cent increase that was in evidence in November.

Year-on-year growth was largely pushed forward by England, where prices climbed by 7.3 per cent compared to those at the end of 2014. It was much slower in Northern Ireland and Wales, with prices having risen by just 1.5 per cent and one per cent respectively. In Scotland, there was even an annual fall, with average prices having dipped 0.2 per cent.

Peter Rollings, chief executive officer of Marsh & Parsons and Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, both said, however, that the positive growth across England in 2015 as a whole showed that this could be one of the strongest sellers’ markets in evidence since the financial crisis.

Prices in England have now broken the average barrier of 300,000 for the first time, and with record numbers of buyers around, sellers have real reasons to be positive about the future of their investments.

Mr Gill said: “December may have weathered the first month-on-month stumble in house price growth for eight months, but on average, property prices are still increasing at more than twice the pace of earnings, which is certainly jubilant news for existing homeowners.”

Meanwhile, Mr Rollings said the fact that London showed a rise of 24 per cent in the number of buyers coming to the market in January showed that even if there was a slowing of activity in December, now is the right time to put homes up for sale as more and more potential purchasers start to seek homes.

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