Tuesday, 28 December 2010

UK House Prices - Four reasons to think the UK property market might be weakening

Hometrack has just released its December survey of estate agents and surveyers. The data points to a weakening UK property market.

Reason One: Average Time on the Market is increasing

Housing inventory is taking longer to sell. The average time taken to shift a home increased over the month to 10 weeks, the longest period since April 2009.

The time on the market is now over 3 months for three regions - East Midlands, North West and Wales.

Reason 2: Settlement Prices are falling relative to asking prices

Sellers are offering sizable discounts on property.  Settlement prices as a proportion of asking prices fell to 92.1 percent. This is a 16 month low.

The recent weakening was driven by declining demand.  Hometrack estimate that in December demand fell by 4.8 percent, the sixth monthly decline in a row. Supply also contracted slightly, falling 1.5 percent.

Looking beyond December, 2010 was marked by a sharp increase in inventory. Hometrack estimates that the supply of homes for sale grew by 24 percent. In the final 6 months of the year, demand fell by 18 percent.

Reason 3:  Prices are falling in around a third of the country

At the beginning of the year, hardly any post codes were registering price declines. Markets were either standing still or moving upwards. Things began to change rapidly over the late summer months.

Reason 4:  The number of post codes registering a price increase has fallen to zero.

According to Hometrack, there are no "hot" markets.

Hometrack also presented an unusually pessimistic projection for next year.  They expect house prices to fall by two percent.


Anonymous said...

The third chart faintly points to a housing recovery.

Sureseam said...

The evidence of previous declines is that things don't get serious until interest rates start to rise. In the mean time savers are fleeced.

TPTB are trying to avoid such rises because they don't want it on their watch. Delaying the inevitable will, however, make it far worse.

The longer the delay the more certain it is that this coalition will be followed by 12 years of Labour administration.