(Bloomberg) — Asking prices for U.K. homes slipped this month as owners sought to get sales agreed in time to benefit from a temporary tax cut.



a person walking down a sidewalk in front of a brick building: A pedestrian passes through an arch in front of residential houses in Frome, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. U.K. house prices rose at their strongest annual pace since 2016 last month as Britons’ changing work patterns and a tax reduction on purchases fanned a resurgence.


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A pedestrian passes through an arch in front of residential houses in Frome, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. U.K. house prices rose at their strongest annual pace since 2016 last month as Britons’ changing work patterns and a tax reduction on purchases fanned a resurgence.

Average advertised prices fell 0.5% from October to 322,025 pounds ($424,000), property website Rightmove said Monday. They are still up 6.3% from a year earlier, the biggest increase in over four years.

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Activity in the market is booming as buyers and sellers look to get transactions completed before the end of a reduction in a levy on home purchases in the spring.

The property website estimates there are 650,000 sales in progress, 67% more than at the same time in 2019. More expensive southern regions are seeing the biggest surge.

The entire industry ground to a halt during the U.K.’s national lockdown earlier this year. New restrictions introduced this month stop short of stopping viewings and Rightmove now predicts annual price growth of 7% in 2020.

“Prices might have been expected to rise again this month, but instead we have a slight dip,” said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data. That “could be a result of some new sellers pricing more realistically to have a better chance of agreeing a sale in time to benefit from the stamp duty savings.”

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