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House prices rise at slowest pace for more than five years, says ONS

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: ‘Although very comprehensive, these numbers are a little historic and provide a snapshot of the market in the period leading up to the autumn. 

‘They confirm what’s been happening before and since – that price falls in the London area are masking some resilience in the rest of the UK and that transaction numbers are holding up reasonably well. However, overall, prospects for the new year are not good as all the recent Brexit and general economic uncertainty are not reflected in these statistics.

‘On the ground, December is proving to be fairly typical – generally quiet but still, thankfully, a fair number of buyers who need to move checking out what they consider are the best value options.’ 

Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: ‘Although uncertainty remains, the housing market is diverse and resilient. 

‘Property prices continue to rise, and at levels that are much more manageable for those looking to step onto the ladder. Increased competition in the mortgage market is also aiding borrowers, offering more products for both young and old.

‘The choice on offer from lenders is to be welcomed, but it can also be a little daunting for those looking to step onto, up or even down the property ladder. This is when speaking to an independent mortgage adviser can make all the difference. 

‘Not only do these individuals have extensive knowledge of the range of products available within the market, but they are also able to really understand the circumstances of borrowers, helping borrowers every step of the way to find a mortgage that fits their needs.’

Andy Soloman, chief executive of Yomdel, said: ‘The lowest rate of price growth in over five years suggests that the UK property market is very much treading water at present, with the continued fog of Brexit uncertainty taking the wind from its sails. 

‘Let’s not forget, that while a stalling level of price growth may reflect a less than stable economic outlook, it is far from the cliff fall of the previous market crash, and this slow but sure reduction in house prices will be welcomed by the many still priced out of the market.’

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said: ‘There’s only one thing the property market wants for Christmas – stability.

‘Two years of gnawing uncertainty about Britain’s post-Brexit future have chilled several regional markets to the bone.’

Mr Hopper added: ‘Astute buyers are flexing their muscles, capitalising on a window of opportunity that is likely to close in March, whether the Government’s efforts end in ‘no deal’ or no Brexit.’

John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder of buy-to-let firm Landbay, said: ‘Amidst a volatile political and economic landscape, the hesitance of buyers and sellers to act is completely understandable. 

‘Combine this with the traditional seasonal slowdown, alongside historically low levels of transactions, and stagnant house price growth really is no surprise. 

‘As we wait to see how Brexit uncertainty unravels, the private rental sector will play a more important economic role than ever as it provides flexibility and value to renters and landlords alike.’