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Online House Hunter: A mixed message

Alan Cleaver
housegraf 300x225 Online House Hunter: A mixed message

The ups and downs of the property market

AMONG the batch of monthly housing surveys, Hometrack stands out as one of the more authoritative as it takes in details from 5,100 agents and surveyors across England and Wales.

Their survey of March shows the familiar good and bad news in these stuttering times. First the bad news: A drop of 3.2 per cent year-on-year in house prices. The monthly drop was just 0.1 per cent putting the average price of a property at £153,100.

The good news includes a continuing return to the market of house-buyers – a growth of 4.2 per cent over March. Volume of sales agreed grew by 12.6 per cent over March and Hometrack say this has led to “a firming in underlying pricing levels with the proportion of the asking price rising from 91.9 per cent in January to 92.7% in March.”

Other key points include:

  • Prices were down across 27% of the country in March while 8% of the country posted price rises.
  • London registered the first monthly increase in prices for 8 months on the back of rising demand and dwindling supply. Central London was the primary driver of a 0.2% increase in prices across the capital.
  • The time on the market stands at 9.9 weeks but in three regions the average is over 3 months. In two other regions it is just under 3 months.
  • The supply of housing continues to grow on the back of improved levels of market activity.

National surveys can only give a snapshot of the country as a whole and you need to talk to your local estate agents or surveyors to find out what is happening with house prices in your area (or the area you wish to move to). However, the Land Registry can supply good data on house prices within council areas and you can compare this with other areas and/or over periods of time. You will also find a wealth of data on the Communities and Local Government website.

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  • Pastaface

    Is this the same nationwide that only states its preference to lend to BTL buyers with very low LTV deals. That’s how confident they are in this market.

  • baza

    Yawn. Why are price rises ‘good news’ and price falls ‘bad news’? To me, it’s the exact opposite.

  • enguerrand321

    House prices going up is a bad thing, just like when petrol prices or milk prices or bread prices go up.

    What the survey shows is that in the month that marks the beginning of the spring selling season in a strongly seasonal market, the number of sales remains very low and prices are static while general inflation is running at 5%. This sounds to me like a market that is poised to crash once everyone realises that cheap credit is never coming back.

    And crash is what it needs to. Ordinary people whose parents bought easily, who have done the right thing and been to university and got good jobs, cannot afford to buy proper homes unless they beggar themselves, borrow at imprudent multiples, receive a large inheritance or buy somewhere nasty and/or uncommutable.

  • nicknuts

    Prices going up is good news?
    This is one f***ed-up country.


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