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Less homes coming on the market but still no increase in prices

As the rental market goes from strength to strength, more gloomy news from the housing sales market promises yet more opportunities for the ambitious landlord.

A report out today by property analytics outfit Hometrack suggests the housing market is no nearer a recovery and in fact average house prices in the UK could see a reduction of around 5% in 2012. The news, although bad for sellers, could signal even better pickings for property investors looking to buy landlord insurance on new projects.

The latest monthly figures from the Hometrack report show a 10% drop in new homes coming on to the market in January compared to December. That news is bad enough in itself, but November and December were also down on previous months. The financial constraints being exercised by the banks towards lending, and the worldwide financial downturn is driving the housing market in the UK downwards and experts still cannot see light at the end of the tunnel.

The report also showed that houses were taking longer to sell and that prices on average had not moved for around 18 months. However, this is a UK average and in that time London and the South East has seen a marked increase in property prices, which suggests the rest of the country, has experienced a drop.

Richard Donnell, head of research at Hometrack confirmed this, saying “The survey reveals a market dogged by uncertainty. On a national basis house prices have not increased over the last 18 months, since June 2010. However, there was a small rise in London prices, which offset falls in other regions. The relatively positive housing market in the capital is set to continue through 2012 as the Olympics effect continues to boost interest in the City’s property. Overseas buyers looking for a safe haven in the midst of global uncertainty will continue to invest in the capital and the super prime postcodes of central London.”

By Simon Dack

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