Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, is warning that any recovery will be strongly dependent on the major lenders making mortgage finance more available.
He says: “The housing market remains in a state of fragile recovery as the year ends. Frankly, however, this recovery is threatened by the stubborn refusal of major lenders to loosen their self-serving restrictions on mortgage lending.
“A historically low rate of interest has benefited those people who already have a mortgage, but it is likely that over the next 12 months it will rise.
“That will place more pressure on existing borrowers but also remove mortgages from the reach of even those house buyers with large deposits.
“The danger is that a backlog of pent-up demand for property emerges. That means the market will suffer from lack of demand in the short term and potentially be distorted by a rush of demand when these people can finally get onto the ladder.”
But he does not expect a widespread fall in house prices over the next 12 months but there may be ups and downs.
He says: “What we will see is the emergence of ‘postcode power’ – as demand for property in some areas fuels a healthy market while other, less desirable areas, are in danger of being left behind.”