House market enjoys some spring stability

HOUSE prices remained stable for the first time in 20 months last month, according to the latest survey by Hometrack.<br /><br />House prices remained unchanged in May, compared to month on month declines since the housing slump. A combination of stronger sales volumes, continued buyer interest and a dwindling supply of property for sale has provided a short term boost to market confidence.<br /><br />The latest survey shows a continued increase in the number of sales being agreed &ndash; up by 9.4 per cent in May and by over 43 per cent in the last 3 months. This is in sharp contrast to the same period in 2008 when there was just a 4 per cent rise in sales and confidence amongst buyers was evaporating rapidly.<br /><br />Other lead indicators from the survey confirm the modest improvement in market conditions with the proportion of the asking price being achieved rising to 90 per cent for the first time since August 2008. However, house prices remain on average 9.6 per cent lower than a year ago. Hometrack&rsquo;s director of research Richard Donnell warned that house prices would continue to face &ldquo;downward pressure for the forseeable future&rdquo; due to the weak economy.