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House sales are expected to slump to a 40-year low with no expectation of the market improving next year.
Property market analysts Hometrack predict around 840,000 home sales for the year – down 50% on the housing bubble peak of four years ago.
The group reports home prices dropped 0.2% in November after a similar fall in October, with a year-on-year decline of 2.3% characterised by a series of small falls each month since July 2010.
Only London is performing against the trend – prices have stood still for two months in a row in the Capital.
Hometrack suspects only reluctance to put homes on the market is stabilising prices as estate agents report a shortage of property, with a fall of 0.8% in homes for sale compared with the previous month.
“2011 looks set to register the lowest level of housing turnover for 40 years – a trend that we expect to continue into 2012,” said Richard Donnell, director or research at Hometrack.
“An expected 840,000 sales in 2011 is almost 50% lower than in 2007 and equates to the average private sector home changing hands every 26 years.
“This is creating a scarcity if housing and is acting as a support to pricing levels.”
Meanwhile, the Hometrack figures are at odds with the latest data from the Land Registry for October.
The Land Registry returns a 0.9% fall in home prices in England and Wales between September and October – against 0.2% for Hometrack.
The average price of a home, according to the Land Registry, was £159,999.
Prices in London increased during the last 12 months by 0.3%, while the North East experienced the greatest annual price fall – down 7.2%.
The latest completed house sales for August showed a 1% increase to 62,010 from 61,469 in August 2010.
The number of properties sold for more than £1 million in August 2011 decreased by 7%t to 714 from 764 in August 2010.
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