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House market doom-mongers "detached from reality"

19 April 2004
Reports of an imminent crash in house prices have been branded "detached from reality".

Instead estate agents look set for another 12 months of rising house prices, according to the latest survey from the National Association of Estate Agents.

The president of the NAEA, Melfyn Williams, asserted: "Recent reports of an imminent crash in the housing market have as much foundation as a house built on sand."

"These commentators are totally detached from the reality on the ground, where estate agents are united in predicting another year of strong price rises across the country."

The March report revealed that prices have risen another two per cent over the month, making them 12 per cent higher than a year ago.

In other findings, there was good news for sellers: around 98 per cent of people achieved the asking price - the highest result since 2002.

Across the country estate agents were optimistic about the future: 93 per cent believe house prices will rise further over the coming year, with three quarters feeling they will jump by five per cent or more.

The majority (63 per cent) indicated that historically low interest rates were the reason behind their high hopes.

As for first time buyers, sales dropped slightly to 16 per cent after hitting a recent high of 20 per cent in February. However, this is still much higher than the latter part of 2003.

New buyers are not giving up on the market and are being helped by mortgage lenders offering even higher multiples of income to help them get on the property ladder.