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UK housing market is grinding to a halt, report surveyors

Surveyors report the housing market is slowing down across the country (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The housing market is grinding to a halt as worries about Brexit and interest rate rises deter buyers and sellers.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) says prices are falling in four areas of the country.

However, while London, the South East, East Anglia and north-east England see house prices coming down, Scotland, Wales, north-west England and Northern Ireland have continued to see rising prices, according to Rics.

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Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics, said: “The combination of the increased cost of moving, a lack of fresh stock coming to the market, uncertainly over the political climate and now an interest rate hike appears to be taking its toll on activity in the housing market.”

Across the country as a whole, it said prices were flat, with just 1% more surveyors reporting rises in October than those reporting falls.

Rics said that last week’s rise in base rates was one factor behind the “stuttering” market.

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About four million mortgage holders – mostly those on variable rate deals – will see a rise in interest rates as a result of the Bank of England’s decision to increase rates by 0.25% to 0.5%.

Surveyors reported seeing interest from buyers continue to decline with 20% more respondents noting a fall in new buyer enquiries over the month.

Agreed sales were also reported to have fallen again, with 20% more respondents noting a decline in transactions over the month at the national level.

Selling prices are coming in lower than asking prices across all house sales, in one in every three sales.

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Rubinsohn added: “Prices do now seem under pressure at the more expensive end of the market with a further rise in the number of properties transacting at below the asking price.

“But it is important to not characterise the whole of the market by what is happening in parts of London and the wider South-East.”