Real Estate

UK house price growth hits 18-month low

Manisha Jha, Special to

U.K. house price growth fell for the sixth consecutive month in November to hit an 18-month low, according to a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

However, the group expects British Chancellor George Osborne's recent stamp duty reforms to boost prices by between 2 and 5 percent over the next year.

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The changes to stamp duty – a British tax on documents usually relating to properly – were announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement earlier this month. He said the measure would mean a lower rate of stamp duty for 98 percent of home buyers.

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Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: "The stamp duty reform could reverse the softer trend in buyer enquiries that has been visible in recent months."

"Expectation from members that transactions could increase by up to 5 percent over the next year on the back of this measure suggests that there is a belief that supply will indeed respond to the tax change," he added.

UK property taxes overhauled

The survey also highlighted the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the upcoming general elections in May 2015, which has muted buyer sentiment. As a result, new buyer enquiries have declined for five consecutive months, the group said.

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The survey findings come amid a slowdown in the U.K.'s housing market, which started in the middle of the year on the back of tighter mortgage regulations.

Previous annual price rises of more than 10 percent had far outstripped lower wage growth and led to concerns about a housing bubble in the country.