The latest figures from the Land Registry have shown house prices fell by 0.3% in April, the 16th month in a row that this particular survey has seen a drop.
According the the Land Registry the average home in England and Wales is now worth £160,417, a 1% fall in value over the past 12 months.
The Land Registry survey is often seen as the most reliable of all the house prices surveys, as it is based on actual sales data, and the latest figures echo those from Halifax and Nationwide, who have also said house prices have fallen in recent months.
End of the Stamp Duty holiday blamed
The end of the Stamp Duty holiday for first time buyers was partly to blame for the fall in house prices, although ever tightening mortgage lending criteria and the poor state of the economy are additional contributing factors.
Increasing borrowing costs are also playing their part. Despite the Bank of England keeping Bank Base Rate at 0.5% for over three years, the cost of a mortgage is actually rising for huge numbers of borrowers, with increases to many Standard Variable Rates (SVR) and popular fixed rate mortgages.
House prices in London
As is often the case London bucked the national trend showing a sharp rise in April alone of 5.1%, leaving house prices up in the capital by the same amount over the past 12 months.
Further falls in house expected
Despite data from Hometrack, which showed that the number of people registering with estate agents was outstripping the number of new properties coming to the market, the Land Registry said that house prices will continue a “slow, downward grind” over the next few months.
The news will not be welcomed by existing homeowners who are looking to move up the housing ladder, however the falls should make it easier for first time buyers to buy a property, assuming of course that they can obtain suitable mortgage finance.
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