Wednesday, December 24, 2008

UK Home Prices To Dip

Source : The Straits Times, Dec 24, 2008

LONDON - HOUSE prices in Britain will fall 10 per cent next year as banks rein in lending and buyers are deterred by the economic slowdown, a leading surveyors' group forecast on Wednesday.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the fall would bring house prices, which have roughly tripled over the last decade, down to at least 25 per cent below their summer 2007 peak.

'Lenders are likely to remain cautious,' said Simon Rubinsohn, the group's chief economist. 'This, coupled with an increasingly gloomy economic picture, suggests that house prices will continue to decline in 2009.'

However, the surveyors' group said the volume of sales would probably increase by 10 per cent next year, after plunging to a 30-year low in November, as government programs to increase the availability of affordable mortgages begin to take effect.

The group's 2009 house price forecast echoes the one that Hometrack property researchers published on Monday, which also predicted that house prices will fall by 10 per cent next year.

Several other leading British research groups - Nationwide and the Council of Mortgage Lenders - have decided not to publish house price estimates for 2009 because of market volatility. -- AP

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