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Property prices fall for seventh month running

A Hometrack survey has revealed a drop in house prices across 51% of the UK, making this the seventh consecutive month of falling av-erage property values.

The survey shows the average house price fell 0.6% in April as es-tate agents reported falls in both po-tential buyer numbers and sales agreed.

Hometrack says sellers are also achieving less than their asking prices, with the average seller getting 93% of what they asked for compared with 95.7% in April 2007.

Richard Donnell, director of re-search at Hometrack, says: “The weakness in demand is largely confidence-driven, and the fact that the majority of house moves are aspirational rather than need-based is ex-acerbating the problem.

“Downward pressure on house prices will only stop when there is a turnaround in buyer confidence, the timing of which is impossible to predict. We will first have to see more stability in financial markets and an improved economic outlook.”

Tony Ward, chief executive of Home Funding, says: “These findings are hardly surprising considering consumer confidence is falling and inflationary pressure is increasing, with fuel and food prices on the rise.

“The property market is shaky and prices are likely to fall further, but we are not seeing a collapse.”


B2L prospects are good, say brokers

The Mortgage Works says brokers are optimistic about landlords’ prospects this year. Some 44% of respondents polled by the firm think investors will not only maintain their existing portfolios but grow them.

Paragon says rents up 4%

Average rents have risen 4% during Q1 and 12% over six months to reach a new record of more than £1,000 per month, says Paragon Mortgages.


Hanging onto the ladder for dear life

The latest news from housing charity Shelter says the boom in house prices since 1998 means many first-time buyers have been unable to get on the property ladder. I didn’t see that coming.


Health Shield joins the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries

Health cash plan provider Health Shield has joined the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII) as a corporate member. The non-profit-making Friendly Society is one of eight health cash plan providers to join the intermediary trade body, which is looking to establish working parties with intermediaries and providers on issues such as product innovation and regulation.


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