Housing market stalls

20 September 2004
House prices were "static" between August and September, figures from property website Rightmove show today.

The average price of a home in England and Wales stood at £192,316, following the two per cent drop off over the previous five weeks.

With interest rates upped to 4.75 per cent, Rightmove suggested that sentiment was shifting to a buyers' market, noting a rise in the number of homes up for sale.

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, noted "a readjustment phase" in the UK property market.

"Five consecutive interest rate rises, plus the fact that house prices have risen beyond what people can afford to pay, are draining activity and contributing to an uncertain environment in which buyers are reluctant to commit," he said.

"Prices are going nowhere, activity is slow, and buyers need to be enticed back into the market".

Mr Shipside said buyers were increasingly cautious over further interest rate hikes.

Rightmove said flats and terrace houses had seen the biggest fall in prices since July, with the average price of a terrace house dropping by over £5,000.

The North West, Greater London, Wales and the West Midlands saw prices decline moderately.

In a cautious note, Mr Shipside said UK property was a patched quilt of differing trends. On the whole, price changes for the month were relatively small, both positive and negative.

The assessment period was from August 14th to September 11th.
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