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30 October 2012

House prices drift lower in October

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by Gill Montia

House prices drift lower in October

House prices across England and Wales fell by 0.1% during October, marking a third consecutive monthly decline (August -0.1%; September -0.1%), according to Hometrack.

Thirty-one per cent of post codes experienced price falls and 5.7% recorded rises.

However, over the last year, the typical dwelling has seen only 0.4% shaved off its value, the lowest annual rate of decline for two years.

Furthermore, in the north of the country, which has seen steep annual declines since 2007, there are signs that prices are firming, the gap between asking and achieved prices having improved steadily over the last six months.

The housing intelligence firm also notes that the re-pricing of older stock to a saleable level has been a key trend over the summer months.

As a result, October saw a 9.2% increase in the number of sales agreed, with double digit growth in sales in the Midlands and Wales.

Even so, demand for housing remains subdued overall with new vendors taking an average 9.9 weeks to sell their properties (12 weeks in the Midlands and northern regions; eight weeks in the south; less than six weeks in London).

Commenting on the outlook, Hometrack’s director of research, Richard Donnell, says: “The foundation of any national and sustainable recovery in the housing market rests on growth in the wider economy and household incomes.

“In the short term we expect the current trends to continue with demand likely to slowdown in the run up to the year end with agents looking to push through as many sales as possible.”

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