17:17 PM, 31st January 2012, About 10 years ago
House prices have stuck in a rut for 18 months and are unlikely to change much for at least year.
Property market monitor Hometrack reports no monthly change in prices after negligible 0.2% drops in November and December.
A separate study by online property portal Rightmove reveals buyer confidence is ebbing away – with the 30% expecting house prices to fall this year outnumbering the 25% of optimistically predicting a rise.
Although average UK prices have fallen, successive reports from lenders, property analysts and the Land Registry have shown prices in London have increased, while the rest of the country has slipped behind.
Homes are also selling quicker in London – where they stay on the market for just 6.5 weeks, compared with up to three months elsewhere.
Hometrack also pointed out that the number of homes coming to the market fell by 7% last year – back to the level last seen in 2008.
Lenders have already suggested mortgage borrowing will stay at last year’s level of around £145 billion, although parameters within that amount may change as money is switched to buy to let rather than other lending.
Rightmove suggest the UK house market is splitting along the north/south divide as London prices are pushed up by a lack of properties on the market and prices in the rest of the country are falling due to oversupply.
Director Miles Shipside, said: “Our survey shows that sellers in the south should have more reason to be confident than those in the north, though even within regions there is evidence of variations in confidence in local micro-markets.
“While parts of the stock-starved south, and London in particular, are feeling relatively bullish about prices, the turmoil of the last few years has wreaked havoc in parts of the buyer-blocked north.”
Shipside forecasts that a lack of houses on the market in the south will lead to less below asking price offers being accepted from buyers ready to proceed.
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