House Prices Down 3.1%

(Reuters) – ASKING PRICES FOR HOMES in England and Wales are an average 3.1% lower this month than a year ago, property web site Rightmove said today. That matched July’s annual fall; but a monthly decline of 2.2% this month more than reversed July’s 0.6% rise from June, leaving the average price of a home at £222,762.

London was the only region where house prices rose in August, up 2.1% on the year at £387,265.

Recent surveys have suggested that house price falls may be starting to level off, although that may be partly due to a lack of supply as homeowners prefer to sit out the downturn rather than accept a lower price for their property.

And Rightmove reckons that difficult lending conditions will prevent any sustained recovery in the housing market. ‘In spite of pent up demand, the market and pricing is boxed in by restrictive lending criteria,’ said Rightmove director Miles Shipside.

Rightmove said the number of new sellers entering the market was down 23% from last year at 87,200. Shipside said the number of sellers may never recover.

‘Even with a return of equity, employment and wholesale mortgage funding, these levels of sellers may never be seen again,’ he said.

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