Average property price continues to fall

15 September 2004
The average property price in the UK fell for the third consecutive time last month, according to figures released today by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) as over three quarters of estate agents confirmed that they believe prices have reached their peak.

Asking prices were on average 1.3 per cent lower than the previous month and the annual increase in house prices was 8.5 per cent, down from 10.3 per cent the previous month.

In addition, 79.6 per cent of estate agents believe that house prices have reached their highest point and will now decline

But the decline might be slowed as some prospective buyers who have been holding off waiting for prices to hit their peak earlier in the year are now reacting to the slight drop in prices and entering the market.

In addition, they are reacting to the slowdown and attempting to achieve further discounts, securing an average of 5.5 per cent off the asking price, compared with average discounts of around three per cent earlier in the year.

While prices appear to be falling the number of first time buyers is not increasing - making up less than ten per cent of the market for the first time since last autumn.

Richard Hair, president of the NAEA, commented: "This report reveals what is happening at the front line of the housing market.

"The further dip in prices seen this month accentuates the effect the Bank of England's persistent interest rate rises has had on the market.

"However, the steadying of prices has encouraged more buyers than is usual at the end of the summer to return to the market and activity in general is high.

"Those who are realistic about prices are being successful whilst overpriced property is attracting little interest. Whilst it is clear that prices are not going to crash, there may well be some further small correction before normal service is resumed."
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