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29 June 2009

Hometrack: House prices ‘hold steady’

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by Kay Mitchell

Hometrack: House prices ‘hold steady’

Housing intelligence group, Hometrack, has today reported that house prices in England and Wales held steady for the second consecutive month in June.

According to the group, strong demand from buyers is continuing to outstrip the shortage of houses on the market.

The group puts the average cost of a home in England and Wales at an unchanged £155,600.

The annual rate at which house prices are falling also continued to ease, with year-on-year property values 8.7% lower in June, down from a 9.6% drop in the previous month.

Just 3% of postcode areas experienced prices falls during June – down from 32% in the previous month and 60% at the start of 2009, said the organisation.

Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said: “Over the last six months, the volume of buyers has grown by 36%, this compares to a 6.4% increase in the number of homes for sale.”

Mr Donnell added: “The two key risks for the market are either a renewed weakening in demand or a surge in the volume of housing for sale.”

“Given the uncertain outlook for the economy, it is the demand side where the greatest risk lies, as many would-be buyers continue to remain cautious or are unable to obtain sufficient equity or finance to access the market,” he explained.

Meanwhile, there was a further 5% rise in registrations from prospective buyers in June but during the month, there was only a 0.8% increase in the number of properties that were put up for sale.

In other news today, the Bank of England (BoE) revealed a rise in mortgage approvals for the month of May.

According to the Bank, the number of mortgages approved for house buying rose to 43,414 – a 13-month high and up from 43,191 the previous month.

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