House prices level but downward pressures loom
House prices in England and Wales were unchanged in April, with no price fall recorded for the first time in nine months, according to Hometrack.
A 0.3% rise in London prices offset small falls of up to -0.3% across other regions, with just under a quarter of the country showing falls.
The housing intelligence firm notes that an increase in demand (up 22% over the first four months of the year), coupled with strong growth in the number of sales agreed (up 46%) has been easing downward pressure on prices over recent months.
The proportion of asking price achieved increased over February and March but in April the measure fell back slightly to 92.6%.
The average house price now stands at £153,100 for England and Wales, with the typical length of time spent on the market 9.6 weeks.
However, Hometrack suggests that the bounce back in buyer interest over the last quarter is largely down to pent-up demand following a weak final half of 2010 and warns that supply/demand dynamics are set to reverse over the remainder of 2011.
The analyst explains that consumer confidence looks set to weaken as household incomes remain tight, which together with rising supply will put house prices under renewed downward pressure.
April’s survey was based upon responses from 5,100 agents and surveyors across all 2,300 postcodes in England and Wales.