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Over the last two decades London's has population swelled 23% to almost 9 million people, even as the city's fortunes fluctuate, its real estate keeps getting pricier. Image Credit: Bloomberg

London: UK house prices fell for a sixth consecutive month in September but the slump in Britain’s property market is showing signs of easing, Halifax said.

The average price of a home declined 0.4 per cent from August to 278,601 pounds ($339,150), the mortgage lender said in a statement Friday. It left values 4.7 per cent lower than a year earlier.

The figures contrast with rival mortgage lender Nationwide Building Society, whose own survey showed house prices remaining flat in September. However, the monthly fall reported by Halifax was much less than August’s 1.8 per cent decline, and both lenders said recent dips in mortgage rates give reason to believe the housing market is heading for more stability.

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Analysts expect house prices to fall around 10 per cent from their peak in August last year. It means the property market may be halfway through the downturn.

“With Base Rate now likely to be at or around its peak, we are seeing fixed rate mortgages deals ease back from recent highs,” said Kim Kinnaird, Halifax mortgages director. “Wage growth also remains strong, which has helped with affordability, with the house price to income ratio now at its lowest level since June 2020.”

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The house price to income ratio is now 6.2 versus 6.3 in August, Halifax said, helped by rising wages and falling property prices.

While prices fell around 1,200 pounds on the previous month, and are 14,000 pounds below the August 2022 peak, they are still 39,400 pounds higher than pre-pandemic and 2,700 pounds above their level when the Bank of England’s base rate began to rise in December 2021.

Signs that the housing downturn is easing will help Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the run-up to a general election expected late next year.

All UK nations and the nine English regions recorded sliding prices, with the biggest falls seen in the South of England where the average property has slipped 5.7 per cent over the past year. Northern Ireland currently has the most resilient house prices.

While London’s residential property has edged down 4.8 per cent over the past year, it is still the most expensive place in the UK to buy a home with the average price at 525,678 pounds.