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House price growth 'slowest since February', but demand remains

Prices for houses in the UK grew 8.2 per cent in the three months ending in November, which is the smallest increase since February, indicating the market will continue to cool down, according to a new report. The Halifax House Price Index - released yesterday (December 4th) - reveals that house sales volumes have plummeted to below 100,000 for the first time this year, indicating a property market slowdown.According to the report, the average price of a house in Britain was £186,941 in November, marking a 8.2 per cent annual increase, a quarterly rise of 0.7 per cent and monthly growth of 0.4 per cent.The index demonstrates that house prices are growing at their slowest rates since February, with increases in November only managing to reverse the 0.4 per cent decline recorded in October rather than making any gains.Home sales dropped to 98,490 - the lowest volume recorded for 2014 - but Halifax's current estimates indicate that housing transactions will exceed one million for the second year running, which hasn't been the case since 2006 and 2007.The number of people being approved for a mortgage to purchase a house, which is a leading indicator of completed house sales, dropped to 59,426 in October. According to the Bank of England's seasonally-adjusted figures, approvals have plummeted by 22 per cent from the 76,574 recorded in January this year.Commenting on the report, housing economist Martin Ellis said: "These factors have in turn contributed to the easing in house price growth since the summer. But housing demand continues to be supported by a strengthening economy, rising employment levels, still low mortgage rates and the first gain in ‘real’ earnings for several years." 

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