Barclays chief sees 30% off UK house prices

| December 15, 2008
Barclays chief sees 30% off UK house prices

The group chief executive of Barclays is predicting that UK house prices will see a peak-to-slump fall of between 25% and 30%, against a backdrop of a shrinking economy.

John Varley has been speaking out in an interview for Sky News, ahead of unemployment figures due to be release by the Government on Wednesday.

He has also criticised mortgage borrowing levels over the past decade and said it was possible to contemplate an additional 700,000 people joining the ranks of the unemployed in the next 12 months.

Mr Varley admitted that banks should take part of the blame for the recession and urged humility on the part of the lending sector.

Earlier this month, Halifax reported a 2.6% fall in the average price of a UK home, in November.

According to the index, the annual rate of decline now stands at 14.9% (compared with 13.7% in October), and the average property costs £163,605 or roughly the same as in July 2005.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Economics and Business Research is predicting that the average cost of a UK home will fall by up to £40,000 by the end of 2009.

The independent consultancy expects the market to show signs of stability in 2010, having seen a maximum 20% decline in prices, from the market peak last summer.

Based on this assumption, the average house price, which stood at £196,000 in summer 2007, will fall to £157,000 by Christmas 2009, at which point prices will have reverted to 2004 levels.

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