House price growth slows in November, says the Halifax

Estate agent window Image copyright PA
Image caption Stamp duty changes came into effect on Thursday, affecting those buying a home

The annual growth in UK house prices slowed to 8.2% in November compared with 8.8% in October, according to the latest figures from the Halifax.

The lender, part of Lloyds Banking Group, said that property prices were 0.4% higher last month than they were in October.

The price of the average home in the UK was £186,941.

The figures come on the same day that an overhaul of the stamp duty system takes effect.

About three-quarters of all property buyers in England and Wales in the 12 months to the end of September faced a stamp duty bill, the Halifax said.

"The average homeowner will be financially better off under the new structure and the changes should encourage more movement in the housing market as transactional costs will be reduced for many," said Stephen Noakes, of the Halifax.

Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics, said the change could provide a temporary "second wind" to house prices.

Under the old system, that ended on 3 December, buyers were charged stamp duty in the UK as a percentage of the whole of the property price. Chancellor George Osborne said it was an "outdated, badly designed" system.

Now, the new rates of stamp duty will only apply to the amount of the purchase price that falls within the particular duty band, making it more like income tax.

The system will operate across the UK until April, after which Scotland will break off to use its own system.

Regionally, in England and Wales, there is a large variation in the amount of stamp duty that is paid, according to calculations by the Halifax.

For example, 98% of homebuyers in London paid stamp duty in the year to September, compared with about 50% in the North and North West of England.

'No boom'

Average stamp duty - by region
Region Average house price New stamp duty Old stamp duty
North of England £149,961 £499 £1,500
Yorkshire and the Humber £162,486 £749 £1,624
North West of England £162,777 £755 £1,627
East Midlands £170,363 £907 £1,703
West Midlands £182,825 £1,156 £1,828
East Anglia £216,129 £1,822 £2,161
Wales £157,916 £658 £1,579
South West of England £235,261 £2,205 £2,352
South East of England £296,366 £4,818 £8,890
Greater London £502,101 £15,105 £20,084
England and Wales £255,003 £2,750 £7,650
Source: Halifax

The average house price in England and Wales is £255,003, according to the Halifax, which calculates its figures based on its own mortgage lending.

As this is just over a trigger point under the old system, the savings are relatively large under the new stamp duty structure.

At that price, buyers would now pay £2,750 under the new system compared with £7,650 under the old system.

Some people have suggested that this could prompt some sellers at this level to raise their asking price slightly in the coming months.

"The cut in stamp duty will give house prices a boost over the next few months, but with house prices already very high, a sustained boom is not on the cards," said Mr Pointon, at Capital Economics.

Regionally, the biggest savings - in percentage terms - on stamp duty under the new system were in the North West of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North of England and Wales, the Halifax said.

Buyers who pay more than £937,500 for a property are mostly worse off in terms of stamp duty payments.

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