Inflation Halves, Led by The South

Monday, July 19 2004

Figures for July indicate that house prices went up by just 1.2% on average in July, less than half the increase we saw in June of 2.6%, and the smallest rise since January of this year, the property website Rightmove has said.

The research found that regions in the south lead the slowdown, with the South West, East Anglia, the South East and Greater London all falling, or only rising very marginally .

The story in the north, however, continues to look rosier as prices in the Midlands, the North East, the North West all rose by larger margins, evidence of higher levels of confidence on behalf of vendors in these areas.

Acknowledging this north-south divide, a spokesman for Rightmove explained: ‘It is no coincidence that the four regions where house prices are the most expensive are those where affordability constraints and the impact of the rising cost of borrowing is beginning to have the greatest effect on property values.’

The overall slowdown mirrors the slowdown in activity levels in many parts of the country, and higher stock levels of properties for sale in estate agents’ windows. Demand from buyers is falling, and now stands at the lowest point for a year, the website’s analysts said.

This is party attributed to the four consecutive interest rate increases, as well as the seasonal summer lull.