Country houses for sale

House prices fall for 11th month

The value of England’s housing stock dropped for the eleventh month in a row in August, down 0.9%, compared to 1.2% the previous month.

Compared to last year, prices have fallen by 5.3%, the lowest level since the Hometrack national housing survey started in 2001.

Also, the Hometrack survey shows average prices were down across more than half (58%) of the country for the fifth month in a row, although the overall monthly fall was lower.

Price decreases were highest in London and the south east (-1%). Yet, Yorkshire and Humberside and the West Midlands were not as hard hit, recording falls of -0.6%.

‘When the market turns, it can take as long as 24 to 36 months for prices to reach realistic levels and we are now well into this process,’ says Richard Donnell, Hometrack’s research director.

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‘We may well start to see a moderation in the rate of monthly price falls. However, with ever growing uncertainty among households over the broader economic outlook, the current re-pricing of housing still has some way to run.’

The research also reveals a continued slowdown in the number of homes coming onto the market. Over the last three months, there has been a noticeable tailing off in the volume of homes going up for sale (+2%), particularly over August when supply fell by 0.7%.

Mr Donnell believes ‘when the market was strong sellers believed that to be in a position to buy, their own home had to be under offer. Now, the opposite is true with sellers keen to find the property they want to buy before putting their own homes onto the market. This is all part of the drawn-out process of moving to a point of more realistic pricing.’

While the average time of a house on the market before it sells continues to rise to 11.3 weeks, the number of viewings required to achieve a sale fell for the first time in 11 months.

‘Despite this, a sizeable proportion of would-be sellers still believe their homes are immune to the recent price falls. Prices will only stabilise once the re-pricing process feeds up and down the chain,’ Donnell adds.