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Today's markets: Last hurrah for house prices? Bridgepoint IPO planned

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Today's markets: Last hurrah for house prices? Bridgepoint IPO planned


  • UK house prices enjoy highest annual growth since 2004
  • UK IPO market boosted
  • Facebook valuation tops $1trn

Is the housing market entering overdrive? 

The UK housing market is accelerating at its fastest rate since 2004 as buyers seeking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before it expires in the coming months have driven up prices again. The irony appears to be that sellers fearing they will sell their property before they have found somewhere to move to have been holding back putting their homes on the market, further fuelling the price rise as buyers chase a shrinking number of potential properties to buy. 

The widely followed Nationwide house price index showed a 13.4 per cent annual rise in June even as the number of transactions began to wane. The rise in the past three months has been strong with prices up 5 per cent since March alone. The average sale price was £255,432, up from £216,403 12 months ago. 

But is this the last hurrah for the housing market? Many commentators believe that the impending return of stamp duty is likely to dampen activity. There may be other obstacles coming for the UK's housebuilding sector too, in the form of growing unease around proposed planning reforms - something Alex Newman points out is a warning following the government's recent by-election defeat in true blue Buckinghamshire. 

London IPO market still alive

News today that buyout specialist Bridgepoint, which numbers Pret a Manger among its past successes, is planning to list in London is a boon for the IPO market here. The company, which says it has more than €27bn of assets under management, wants to raise £300m to pay down debts and allow it to invest further. 

The news is a shot in the arm for the rainmakers among the UK's corporate bankers after signs recently, including Deliveroo's poorly received float and Marex Spectron's decision not to float, that appetite may be waning although last week saw the entry of Victorian Plumbing on Aim. 

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