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'Signs of cooling' in the housing market

Latest indicators suggest the housing market could be cooling as supply and demand begin to balance.According to property website Rightmove, prices have now reached a virtual standstill after the substantial increases that occurred during the first six months of the year. The data indicates much of the pent-up buyer demand has now been released.New seller asking prices rose by just 0.1 per cent this month. Although demand usually cools during the summer, the marginal increase is below June's 0.6 per cent average over the last ten years.More regions of the country saw falls in prices rather than rises during June. With the exception of London, which registered a 0.5 per cent decline, all of the falls were in the north of the country.Rightmove says momentum has been taken out of the market as a result of the ebb in demand, the flow of extra property choice for buyers and the implementation of the new Mortgage Market Review.There is a greater balance between supply and demand as the initial reaction to an upturn often comes from first-time buyers, while there is a time-lag before existing home-owners are ready or able to commit to trade up, down or out in the marketplace.New seller numbers were up by an average of 9.6 per cent in the year-to-date compared with 2013. Supply has been boosted by better selling conditions in the first half of this year and increased confidence to take on the commitment of moving.Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: "Through luck or judgement it appears that the timing of the Mortgage Market Review, more property for sale in all regions, and a tail-off in pent-up buyer demand are alleviating some of the upwards price pressure."The data from Rightmove corroborates statistics released by Nationwide and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, both of which have revealed signs of moderation in the housing market in recent weeks. 

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