The average house price in London fell by just 0.2% last month, from £248,642 in June to £248,155 in July according to London estate agent Haart. It says that, having already fallen 14.5% this year, prices are now predicted to drop just another 5% while first-time buyers are starting to return to the market as they look to capitalise on cheaper prices. First-time buyer enquiries have risen for the third month in a row, adds the report.

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Haart is therefore predicting that prices will begin recovering in the first half of 2009. Russell Jervis, Managing Director of Haart, said: ‘There are clear indications that the market is over the worst now… at most we are predicting a further 5% fall in 2008.’

The report also points out that a strong rental market is helping to underpin the housing market, and rising rents may well push people into buying their first property because they could even save money buy buying.  

The market is also being helped by more realistic vendors, the report concludes: ‘Vendors are beginning to accept that prices have dropped and that only realistically priced properties will sell. As a result it’s a good time to purchase a property and move up the chain.’

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