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Friday 19th of December 2008
December 19, 2008

House price slump continues


by David Masters
House price slump continues

House prices continued to plummet in November, although the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) sees a flicker of hope amidst the gloomy statistics.

The average price of a detached property fell from £291,592 in October to £287,922 by the end of November. Semi-detached properties dropped from £199,905 to £192,042, whilst flats fell from £118,334 to £114,288.

Estate agents had a difficult month, with average sales per agent falling from seven per month to six.

November and December are traditionally slow months for estate agents, when sales agreed and the number of house hunters in the market both drop.

As such, the NAEA said the impacts of recent cuts in the interest rate and Government policy to help the housing market would not be felt until the New Year.

NAEA president Chris Brown said that bearing in mind traditional sale patterns over the winter season, November’s figures are not as bad as had been expected.

An even brighter reason to hope was the number of first time buyers entering the market.

The proportion of first time buyers entering the property market increased to 10.4%, up from an August low of 8.3%.

In addition, research carried out for the Building Societies Association (BSA) found that people are increasingly convinced that now is a good time to buy a house.

Forty six percent of those surveyed said now is a good time to buy, up from 34% in September, and 27% in July.

New government policy is also likely to help the market, with a recent proposal to make it harder for mortgage-lenders to repossess homes, easing the pressure on cash-strapped homeowners.

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