House prices down 0.3% as buyers wait for dust to settle

28-01-2008

House prices down 0.3% as buyers wait for dust to settle
UK house prices fell for the fourth month on the trot in January, according to new figures.

The Hometrack house price index shows house prices this month were down 0.3 per cent, following a 0.3 per cent fall in December.

Annual house price growth fell to 2.3 per cent – the lowest rate of growth since June 2006.

The research also points towards homebuyers stepping away from the market in the current uncertainties - down 11.5 per cent in January - with the average time needed to sell a home reaching 8.5 weeks, the highest level since Hometrack started its index in 2001.

However, prices are being held up by a lack of new properties coming onto the market.

The poll of estate agents showed a 4.6 per cent fall in the supply of new properties – which is now down ten per cent over the last six months.

The number of properties going for the asking price fell to 93.5 per cent – down from 96 per cent a year ago.

"Despite lower levels of market activity and weak confidence among buyers, demand for housing still exits 'at a price'," said Hometrack director of research Richard Donnel.

"While underlying prices are posting small falls, asking prices are under the greatest pressure."

Howard Archer, chief Uk economist at Global Insight, said: "The Hometrack housing market survey for January adds to mounting evidence that the housing market is slowing markedly and is set to continue to do so.

"Furthermore, other elements of the Hometrack survey pointed to further house price weakness ahead."

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