Estate agents see prices drop

25-11-2008

Estate agents see prices drop
Estate agents are calling on the government for further action to inject some life into the housing market.

A poll by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) shows 54 per cent have no confidence in the government and the body is calling for more interest rate cuts and a suspension of stamp duty.

In a morbidly depressed property market, the NAEA October housing market report did glean some positivity.

The number of sales per agent was up from six to seven – still historically low – and the number of first-time buyers lifting their noses over the parapet increased.

However, there was a seven per cent fall in the number of house hunters on estate agents' books to 196.

The number of properties on their books rose from 91 to 98 over October.

Chris Brown, NAEA president, said this was due to sellers realising the only way to make a sale was by cutting prices.

House prices for all property types fell.

The average flat is now worth £118.334, the average terraced house has a price tag of £151,305, a semi costs £199,905 and detached properties cost £291,592.

"Sellers are beginning to face up to the reality that their houses are not worth as much now as they were 12 months ago," Mr Brown said.

"They are ripping up last year's price tags and beginning to come to terms with the new economic reality.

"That is a difficult thing to do."

Richard Hair, chairman of NAEA Essex branch, said: "The last three months have been full of gloom and despondency but there are now some more positive signs at last.

"First-time buyers are showing a welcome return, albeit in smaller numbers than we need and viewings are also on the up but still well below expectations.

"On the down side, the number of buyers remains very slow to commit and many are playing a waiting game in the hope of further price falls."

NAEA is now demanding Alistair Darling suspends stamp duty in his pre-Budget report.

Robert Drewe Williams, NAEA chairman of Devon Branch, said: "The suspension of stamp duty, or better still its abolition, would help not only first time buyers but also second and third time buyers.

"Interest rates still need to be cut to around one per cent to kick start the market again."

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