Housing market continues to slow, says hometrack

The hometrack national November survey of the housing market reveals house price rises averaging only 0.2%.

This is the sixth successive fall in house price inflation since May&#39s peak of 2.6%. The slowdown has been mostly the result of falls in higher value properties, mainly in London and the South East.

London house prices falls have been prevalent all over the capital this month. Elsewhere in the country, house prices continue to rise, led by Suffolk (0.7%), North Wales (0.6%), Teesside (0.6%), Nottinghamshire (0.6%) and Bedfordshire (0.5%). In nearly all counties house price rises have been moderating. While thenumber of properties for sale has remained broadly the same across the country, the number of active buyers (demand) fell by 2.3%.

Prices achieved as a percentage of asking price fell for its fourth month in succession to 96.1% and time to sell increased to 4.1 weeks, a full week longer than the average of 3 weeks it took to sell in the summer.

John Wriglesworth, hometrack&#39s housing economist, says: “House price rises have continued to moderate following unsustainably high rises over the summer. However, low interest rates, high employment and rising incomes continue to sustain healthy housing demand in most parts of the country and we expect this to continue into 2003.

The notable exception is Greater London which, having seen the greatest house price rises over the last two years, is beginning to suffer from the effects of employment worries not least due to the ever increasing number of City job losses. High value properties (over £1 million) are especially experiencing significant falls: typically down 5% over the last month. We have cut our 2003 London house price inflation forecast to -5% (from 7%)and our National house price inflation forecast for 2003 has been reduced to 4% (from 8%). ”