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House prices tread water- August house price survey



August 2003

The number of buyers is on the rise...

UK house prices were unchanged for the third consecutive month in August, according to the latest property market survey.
Property website Hometrack said the average price of a house in England and Wales held steady at £135,200 during the month, with buyers remaining in a cautious mood.

But the company said there were tentative signs of a rebound in the property market, with the number of new buyers climbing by 1.5% from July, and completed transactions rising 5%.

In another sign of underlying strength, the percentage of the original asking price achieved by sellers stabilised at 94.5%.

And while house price growth was flat in the UK as a whole, prices rose in the north and west, with Cumbria, Merseyside and mid-Wales leading the way.

"While house prices remain flat this month as a whole, this hides a turning tide within the regions," said Hometrack housing economist John Wriglesworth.

Crash fears 'unfounded'

"House price falls in the southern counties are diminishing both by number and extent. Meanwhile, the northern counties are showing clearer signs of house price revival."

The Hometrack survey tallies with the latest research from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which last week said prices were rising in some regions, while enquiries from new buyers had risen.

The UK's most closely watched monthly property market surveys, compiled by the Halifax and Nationwide building societies, have painted a picture of sharply declining house price inflation this year amid a dearth of first-time buyers.

While the trend has remained upwards for the UK as a whole thanks to continued strong growth in the north, former property market hotspots in London and the south east have stagnated or fallen slightly.

The slowdown in house price growth, which comes after five years of double digit gains, has stirred fears of a property market crash of the kind which rocked homeowners - and the wider economy - in the early 1990s.

But Hometrack's John Wriglesworth said there was little chance of a collapse in house prices, saying worries of a crash were now "proving to have no intelligent foundation".

Source: BBC Newsweb

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