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ASPIRING first-time buyers will be hoping to get a foot in the door after the biggest fall in house prices for five years.

The average asking price has dropped by £8,000 across the UK and £23,000 in London over the past month, property website Rightmove has revealed.

It comes after chancellor Philip Hammond offered another chink of light to first-time buyers in his Budget by exempting them from stamp duty on homes worth up to £300,000.

Rightmove’s director Miles Shipside said prices were likely to rise again next year but sellers faced a ‘more challenging market’.

He added: ‘2018 will continue the 2017 trend by being a real mixed bag of different price pressures, both up and down. But the net result is that we forecast another year of a slowing in the pace of price rises.’ The average asking price was £302,865, show the Rightmove figures, which cover homes of all sizes.

The 2.4 per cent drop from £311,043 is the biggest since a 3.1 per cent slide in December 2012.

In London, prices fell 3.7 per cent to an average of £605,203, from £628,219.

However, experts warned home ownership will remain a dream for millions of renters.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark, said: ‘There is still a long way to go before many first-time buyers can imagine getting on the housing ladder. While the stamp duty change in the Budget will feel like a positive step for them, we may find it increases demand for properties in the new year and ironically pushes prices up.’

Polly Neate, of housing charity Shelter, said: ‘We all know that homes are over-priced, so modest falls in house prices should not raise alarm bells.

‘Even with these slight drops, home ownership is still a distant pipe dream for most ordinary working people. That’s why we really need to see the government building more genuinely affordable homes.’

Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said sellers should not worry unduly as demand was healthy despite uncertainty over Brexit and the first interest rate rise in nine years.

‘The market has remained consistent and steady in real terms, which will provide us with a stable start to 2018,’ he said.

Source: Metro News

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