Mind the gap! Selling prices reported by lender a long way off Rightmove’s asking prices


House price growth has reached its lowest annual level for more than five years, Halifax claims.

The bank's October House Price Index showed annual growth in the market slowed from 2.5% in September to 1.5% last month, the lowest rate since March 2013.

On a monthly basis prices grew marginally, by just 0.7%, after consecutive monthly falls in August and September.

This left average prices at £227,869, but a long way off the latest new asking prices on Rightmove of £307,245.

The average Halifax figure is still ahead of Nationwide data which last week claimed house price growth was also at a five-year low of 1.6% to £214,534.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: "House prices continue to be supported by the fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low.

"Further house price support comes from an already high and improving employment rate and historically low mortgage rates which are creating higher rates of relative affordability.

"We see this continuing to be the case over the coming months and we remain supportive of our 0-3% forecast range."

Commenting on the Halifax figures, Lucy Pendleton, founder director of London firm James Pendleton estate agents, said discounting has become more common to attract buyers.

She said: "The most sluggish rate of growth for over half a decade mirrors exactly what is being witnessed on the high street.

"The sense of urgency with which people are adjusting their prices has increased. Discounts of £200,000 on homes over a million were rare six months ago but are now not uncommon.

"We've narrowly avoided a three-month run of negative price growth but in what is now certainly a buyers' market in many areas of the country, the boot is now on the other foot.

"Sellers have needed some encouragement over the past few months to recognise the way the tea leaves were arranging themselves.

"However, the vast majority are now on the same page as buyers who have got more confident and less impatient. More often than not it's us calling them, not the other way round any more.

"More agile vendors will likely improve the number of houses changing hands as people seal deals and buyers frustrated by a lack of affordability come back to the table.

"There's no reason for vendors to lose hope though. If you are selling and buying, you can make up any shortfall in your budget by shopping well yourself. This is how the game is played and vendors in a flat market can still come out ahead."