House prices fall further as demand dips

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH house prices suffered their biggest fall since April 2009 this month, declining
by 0.3 per cent, property data company Hometrack said yesterday in its monthly survey of estate agents and surveyors.

August is traditionally a weak month for British house prices, with many buyers on holiday, and Hometrack’s data are not seasonally adjusted. Nonetheless the firm said a downward price trend was now underway after July’s 0.1 per cent fall.

Demand dropped for the second month in a row by 2.2 per cent.

“The housing market is in the process of a modest re-pricing that is likely to run for the next six to twelve months,” said Hometrack’s director of research Richard Donnell.

“This follows a period of 18 months over which house prices have firmed rapidly on the back of a potent mix of rising demand and a chronic lack of housing for sale,” Donnell added.

Hometrack said house prices are 1.5 per cent higher than a year ago, the smallest annual gain since March.

Official Land Registry price data, which lag industry surveys, showed on Friday that house prices were 6.7 per cent higher in July than a year ago after a 0.4 per cent monthly rise.

Hometrack’s survey is based on estate agents’ and surveyors’ estimates of realistic prices, and has typically shown smaller rises and falls than official data and figures from major British mortgage lenders Halifax and Nationwide.

Despite the darkening overall picture, the number of sales agreed rose by 0.8 per cent during August.