2011 is set to be the slowest year for property sales in four decades, a survey conducted by industry analysts Hometrack has said.
The number of new buyers registering with estate agents declined by 2.2 percent from October to November and is expected to fall further in the run up to Christmas.
Hometrack’s national housing survey predicts 840,000 sales for the year, just over half the total figure for 2007. House prices are 2.3 per cent lower than this time last year and have either fallen or stagnated in every month since July 2010.
Richard Donnell, Hometrack’s director of research said that house prices would have fallen even further were it not for people’s reluctance to sell in these conditions: “Only committed sellers are putting their homes on the market and meeting what buyers are prepared to pay in order to push sales through before Christmas”.
The average time for a house to remain on the market also rose to 9.9 weeks in November and the proportion of properties selling for their asking price remained at 92.5 per cent. Prices were down in every region bar greater London, the north west, south west, Wales and east Midlands have seen the biggest falls of at least 0.3 per cent.
Donnell said that London was unlikely was unlikely to emerge unscathed from recent financial turmoil: “When prices start to fall in the capital, the scale of headline price falls will start to accelerate.”
Fears within the housing industry of a major slump have been growing, thanks to high rents, restricted mortgage lending and low levels of construction..