UK house prices see first September fall in nine years as Brexit bites

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
The 'autumn bounce' in property prices has not happened for the first time since 2010. Photo; Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

Property prices have fallen in September for the first time in nine years as the usual “autumn bounce” fails to materialise, new figures suggest.

Rightmove (RMV.L) says Brexit is dragging down house prices in its latest UK property price index, with buyers and sellers more cautious “as the deadline gets closer and tensions heighten.”

Britain could still crash out of the EU without a deal on 31 October, with enormous consequences for UK property prices and employment levels widely predicted.

The latest Rightmove figures show the average asking price of a property in Britain fell by 0.2% between August and September, down £730 to £304,770.

It is the first time prices have dropped in September since 2010, and marks a reversal of the “pre-Brexit buying spree” reported by Rightmove last month.

The number of sales is also down 5.5% on a year ago.

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Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said Brexit uncertainty could spell opportunities for bolder buyers prepared to make the leap, with sellers more likely to negotiate.

He said: “The autumn bounce normally kicks off at the same time as kids go back to school, but this year it’s a late starter at best, and if uncertainty persists then the autumn term could be missed altogether and its activities be delayed until the new year.

“Those who are planning to buy or trade up and can keep their nerve whilst others hesitate may find that they are in a stronger negotiating position to get a favourable deal.

“In August we reported a pre-Brexit buying spree, with the number of sales agreed up by over 6% compared to the prior year, as buyers and sellers decided to get deals secured well before the next Brexit deadline.

“A month later, as the deadline gets closer and tensions heighten, there has been a big swing the other way with sales agreed numbers now over 5% below those of a year ago.”

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