Housing market 'is topsy-turvy'

propertyOwen Humphreys/PA Wire

The "topsy-turvy" nature of the housing market was in evidence, as official figures showed that prices edged up but sales slowed.

House prices increased by 0.3% month-on-month in November to reach £161,490 across England and Wales, pushing them 0.9% higher than a year earlier, the Land Registry said.
But sales were more sluggish, with 57,971 transactions taking place between June and September 2012, representing a drop of around 7% on the same period in 2011.

Distractions such as the Olympics have been blamed for disrupting the housing market last summer.

There have been conflicting predictions for house prices this year, with some studies forecasting slight increases, some saying prices will edge lower, and others predicting they will be broadly flat.

Peter Rollings, CEO of estate agent Marsh & Parsons, said: "Rising national house prices will provide cheer for homeowners who have seen their equity dwindle since the initial credit crunch, but the falling number of moves taking place highlights the topsy-turvy nature of last year's housing market.

"Even as late as September, the market was struggling to come to terms with distractions earlier in the summer, which hampered the number of buyers in a position to finalise moves in the month. But recent improvements in mortgage lending, combined with rising national house prices point towards a more positive end to the year and start to 2013."

Continuing a long-running theme, London recorded the strongest year-on-year house price increase in November, with a 5.9% rise taking typical prices to £362,592.

Prices also rose at an above-average rate in London on a month-on-month basis, recording a 0.5% increase. But some analysts have predicted that the top end of the London market could cool down slightly in 2013, following a 7% stamp duty rate which was placed on homes worth over £2 million last spring.

The North East recorded the highest monthly house price rise across England and Wales in November, with a 2.4% increase, although on a year-on-year basis the region has also seen the biggest fall, with a 2.9% drop taking average prices to £98,304. Wales was the region with the biggest monthly house price fall in November, with a 1.6% drop taking average prices to £115,202.

© 2013 Press Association
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