Estate agents, housebuilders and other property shares slide on downbeat house price forecasts

Emma Haslett
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An increase in homes for sale and a fall in demand has hit house prices (Source: Getty)

Property companies were the FTSE's biggest fallers this morning, after a raft of downbeat forecasts surrounding the UK's housing market.

Countrywide, the UK's largest estate agent, was one the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 in early trading, with its shares falling 7.2 per cent to 233.7p.

However, property portal Zoopla and Crest Nicholson were also both hit, with shares falling 2.2 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

On the FTSE 100, Berkeley Group shares fell 1.2 per cent to 2,662p, while Persimmon dropped 0.9 per cent to 1,618p.

Figures out this morning from Knight Frank showed its house price sentiment index crashed more than 10 points between June and July, from 59.7 to 48.3 - any score below 50 suggests people think house prices are dropping.

Meanwhile, Hometrack's monthly monitor of house prices in UK cities showed that while prices rose 10.2 per cent in the year to June, a rush of new listings and a dip in sales in the weeks after the referendum may have pushed down prices in the capital's housing market.

The headwinds that were facing the London market in the lead up to the EU referendum have intensified on the back of the vote to leave and are resulting in slower sales rates," said Richard Donnell, insight director at Hometrack.

"It is still early days, and seasonal factors also need to be considered but the growth in new listings and slower sales points to slower price growth in the months ahead. This growth in supply reflects a mix of new homes filtering through from London’s expanded development pipeline, investors looking to take capital gains, or selling to de-leverage their investments following the reduction in tax relief on mortgage payments for buy-to let investors."

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