House prices have declined for the 14th month in a row according to the latest survey from Hometrack.
Prices fell 0.1%, during August according to the research, with the national average house price now standing at £161,000 down from a peak of £161,7000 in June last year and representing a decline of 3.7% over the last twelve months.
But despite falling prices market activity has increased by 4.1% this month suggesting some confidence has returned to the market, says Hometrack, although the number of new buyers continued to fall by 0.5% this month.
Hometrack the continuing decline in new buyers and the further increase of properties coming onto the market mean it is still very much a buyers market with pressure mounting on house prices to decrease again in coming months.
Moreover it now takes 8 weeks on average to sell a property, which while only a fractional increase from the 7.8 weeks in July, is up considerably from the average of 5.3 weeks it took to sell a property in August 2004. Hometrack says this can be attributed to the fact that buyers have more choice and therefore are taking longer to sell but the number of viewings per sale has in fact fallen to just 12.1 compared to 12.5 in July.
Regionally things remain largely unchanged with house prices in 21 counties remaining static and 33 seeing minor falls in house prices. Typically the South-East has seen house prices fall the most with Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire showing fall of 0.5% and West Sussex and Surrey seeing house prices drop 0.4% this month.
Among the cities two have seen house prices rise Leicester saw an increase in house prices of 1.7% while Liverpool saw prices increase 0.1%. Every other city in the country saw prices either hold or decline with Bath showing the largest fall in house prices at 2% and Milton Keynes and Guildford following close behind with a fall in prices of 1.7% each.
John Wriglesworth, Hometrack’s housing economist says the figures show house prices have failed to respond to the recent interest rate cut. “While transactions have picked up a little this month, a further reduction in new buyers and a further increase in supply suggests no prospect of price rises in the near future. It is a buyer’s market with discounts achieved as a percentage of asking price typically being well over 6%, equating to £12,000 savings on an average priced property, “ he adds.
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