LONDON, June 19 — Asking prices for British houses and apartments fell in June, the first decline in the month since 2009, led by drops in the London area as wage growth slowed and political uncertainty rose, property website Rightmove said today.
The figures are based on property advertised between May 14 and June 10, covering mostly the final weeks before a June 8 national election which saw Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly lose her parliamentary majority.
Rightmove said average asking prices for property sold on its website dropped 0.4 per cent in June, normally a month which sees a seasonal price rise, after rising 1.2 per cent in May.
“The price of property coming to the market had increased in June in every year since 2009, so buyers’ confidence has clearly been affected by inflation outstripping their pay packets and current political events,” Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.
May has so far been unable to secure support for her Conservative Party from its most likely parliamentary ally, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
Figures last week showed consumer price inflation jumped to its highest in nearly four years at 2.9 per cent in May — squeezing households’ disposable income — while wage growth has lagged behind.
In a move likely to make prospective home-buyers’ even warier, three of the Bank of England’s eight policymakers voted to raise interest rates last week, the closest the central bank has come to increasing borrowing costs since 2007.
Prices in most of England and Wales rose, Rightmove said, but a 2.4 per cent drop in London plus smaller declines in parts of central and southeastern England, weighed on the overall average.
Compared with a year earlier, asking prices across Britain were 1.8 per cent higher, the smallest annual increase since April 2013.
Other house price measures have also shown price rises levelling off since Britain voted to leave the European Union almost a year ago.
Mortgage lender Nationwide reported three successive monthly falls in house prices for the first time since 2009, while rival Halifax says annual growth is the lowest since 2013.
Rightmove says more than 90 per cent of British estate agents use its website to advertise property. — Reuters