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October 22, 2010    

House sales fall in September

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by Gill Montia

Latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs show house sales across the UK falling to 78,000 in September, compared with 82,000 in August.

Completed transactions on homes worth over £40,000 fell for the second consecutive month, with the total also down slightly on a year earlier, marking the first annual decline recorded by HMRC in 2010.

Little good news surrounds the UK housing market; the Council of Mortgage Lenders recently reported that September’s gross lending was at its lowest since 2000 and warned that lending could slow “more significantly” in the months ahead, with the mortgage market remaining “muted” over the next few years.

The Halifax House Price Index showed a 3.6% slide in the value of the average home in September, taking the annual rate of gain down to only 2.6%, and the International Monetary Fund has warned that UK house prices could be in line for “further correction”.

Undeterred, homeowners coming to market increased their asking prices by 3.1% in early October, according to Rightmove, as properties listed per estate agency branch rose to 78, up from 69 a year earlier.

The firm’s director, Miles Shipside, commented: “Given the challenges of the current market, the behaviour of sellers in raising their average asking prices by over £7,000 takes some explaining.”

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