London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) June 14, 2009 -- Only Â£1,503 was wiped off the price of an average house in England and Wales in May, compared to the previous six month average of a Â£2,149 monthly decline.
Over the year to May 2009, house prices in England and Wales fell by 16.3% to reach their lowest level since July 2004.
The low volume of house sales, the lack of housing stock on the market and the slowing price of house price falls has caused monthly house price changes to become increasingly volatile, sometimes producing conflicting reports of house price moves across different indices.
The price of an average house in London now stands at Â£293,860, 17.0% below its February 2008 peak and 16.1% lower than in May 2008.
Across all local authorities in England and Wales, 85% have seen house prices decline by at least 10% over the year to May.
Robert Bartlett, Chesterton Humberts CEO, comments:
âWe are experiencing a significant upturn in business with much more activity in the market. While prices are not yet increasing I believe that we will start to see an increase in values by mid summer as a combination of the shortage in available properties, increased buyer demand and historic low mortgage rates start to create a positive environment for an upturn in the market place.
âConfidence in the UK housing market seems to be returning, and for many people an investment in bricks and mortar is seen as offering a better return and a safer environment than the banks or stock market.
âHowever, buyers and sellers alike are becoming frequently more frustrated by the time it takes for transactions to progress. The average time it takes for properties to proceed from being under offer to exchange is now in excess of 68 days, significantly up from the average of 27 days around 18 months ago. Delays in receiving mortgage offers from lenders and legal processing have more than doubled the sales period.
âHIPS are done nothing to speed up this process as was promised by Government and indeed in many circumstances have caused considerable delay and further costs to each party. Many lawyers are unwilling to rely on the information within a HIP and are therefore repeating the process which means both buyers and sellers are now paying for the same work to be done twice.
âThese delays in sale processing have unfortunately also contributed to a resurgence of gazumping as buyers start to chase the shortage of stock.â
Douglas McWilliams, Chief Executive of CEBR, comments:
âWhilst the pace of monthly house price falls continues to decline, activity in the mortgage market continues to increase.
âThe number of approved loans for house purchases rose to 43,000 in April after a similar sized rise in March. Mortgage approvals have now risen for three consecutive months to reach the highest level since April 2008, still 60% lower than the level in April 2007.
âDespite what several house price indices appear to be saying, we have not yet seen the bottom of the market for property prices at the point of sale, although we are almost certainly close.
âSeveral indices that track house prices early in the transaction process have been showing monthly house price rises over recent months. In line with this, and taking into account the timeliness, lag and accuracy of these indices, we could see average house prices in England and Wales rise in June.â
For more information or to arrange an interview with Robert Bartlett, CEO of Chesterton, please contact: Nicky Preston at BlueIce Communications - Tel: +44 (0) 20 7937 7537 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors: Please visit [http://www.chesterton.co.uk] for more information.
The Chesterton Humberts Poll of Polls brings together the leading house price indices to capture a unique look at properties for sale and that have been sold, in effect creating a medium value for house price polls.
This report has been produced by Chesterton Humberts and the centre for economics and business research (cebr).
CEBR is an independent economics and business research consultancy established in 1993 providing forecasts and advice to City institutions, government departments, local authorities and numerous blue chip companies throughout Europe. The contributors to this report are economists Charles Davis and Benjamin Williamson.