Published: 7:00AM BST 17 Aug 2009 Daily Telegraph
The price of homes on the market in England and Wales averaged £222,762 during the four weeks to August 8, just over 2.2per cent less than in the previous month, according to property website Rightmove. The group said the dip in asking prices was in line with a similar fall seen in August 2008, although it was still the biggest drop recorded so far this year, with price rises seen in five of the previous seven months.
It added that the market was continuing to be held back by a lack of mortgage finance. Asking prices remain 3.1 per cent lower than they were a year ago, unchanged from the previous month. Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, said: “After several months of activity and prices revving upwards from last winter’s low point, both will start to hit the limiter without more mortgage finance. “In spite of pent up demand, the market and pricing is boxed in by restrictive lending criteria put in place to ration mortgages, given the lack of funds available to lenders.” Rightmove said buyers were continuing to return to the market, with the group recording its busiest ever month for traffic, despite the fact that there is usually a fall in househunting activity during the summer, as potential buyers go on holiday.
Buyers are also feeling increasingly confident that the market has stabilised, with three-quarters of people saying they do not expect their to be further price falls during the coming 12 months. But there continues to be a shortage of properties for sale, with 82,700 homes put on the market during the month, 23 per cent fewer than in August last year when there was already a supply shortage. It is also around half the level of new properties that were put up for sale in August 2006 and 2007. The North West was one of only three regions to see a price rise during the month, with asking prices jumping by 1.4 per cent, followed by the East Midlands at 1.2 per cent and the North at 0.8 per cent.
East Anglia saw the biggest monthly dip in asking prices with these dropping by 8.3 per cent, although the group cautioned that the figure was likely to have been exaggerated by summer selling patterns. The West Midlands and Greater London both recorded drops of 3.8 per cent during the month.