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Britons Sour on Buying Property Amid Record Values, Halifax Says

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U.K. Housing Market
The report adds to evidence that a boom that has driven house prices to record highs may have peaked, with Halifax reporting a “sharp rise” in the proportion of people citing values as a barrier to buying. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- The gulf between demand for property and supply in Britain’s buoyant housing market may be set to narrow, a survey by Halifax shows today.

The balance of people saying the next 12 months are a good time to buy a home slumped to 5 percentage points in the second quarter from 34 in the previous three months, the mortgage unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc said. That was the largest fall since the survey began in 2011. The balance saying it’s a good time to sell climbed 1 point to 25. A gauge of the outlook for house prices rose 1 point to 66.

The report adds to evidence that a boom that has driven house prices to record highs may have peaked, with Halifax reporting a “sharp rise” in the proportion of people citing values as a barrier to buying. People in London and the southeast, where homes are higher than the national average, were the most negative about purchases.

“It appears that we’ve reached a tipping point with the equilibrium between buyers and sellers much more out of sync,” Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said in a statement.

The Bank of England took action last month stop rising house prices leading buyers to take on risky debts and new rules came into force in April requiring tougher affordability tests.

Hometrack Ltd. said last week that house prices in London stagnated for the first time since 2012. A survey of property surveyors published on July 10 showed they expect values in the city to fall over the coming months.

Concerns about interest-rate increases have risen over the past year, although raising a deposit was the most commonly cited obstacle to buying a home, according to the Halifax survey, which questioned 1,959 people July 4-14.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Hamilton in London at shamilton8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Henry at phenry8@bloomberg.net Andrew Atkinson, Emma Charlton

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