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House price growth 'halves'

The rate of house price growth in the UK more than halved during June, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).Rics says that that in the last month a ratio of 10.6 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise than a fall in house prices, which compared to a balance of 22.5 per cent recorded in May.The professional body claims the research shows that five interest rate rises in the last year have dented both buyer and surveyor confidence."House prices have finally started to cool significantly for the first time since the recent mini-boom in the housing market got underway in 2006," commented Rics spokesman Ian Perry.Earlier this month the Bank of England's monetary policy committee voted to raise interest rates to 5.75 per cent, which followed identical 0.25 percentage-point increases in May and January this year, as well as November and August 2006.Mr Perry continued: "Interest rate hikes have begun to affect the psychology of the market with potential new buyers starting to think twice before buying a home. "The July rate increase may not mark the peak of the current interest rate cycle and earlier rate rises have yet to fully filter through. A softer landing for the housing market is in store as we move into the autumn."But Rics reports that overall the UK housing market remains "buoyant" with London, Scotland and Northern Ireland leading growth across the country.

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