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24-08-04 06:14
House Prices Fall Nationally

By JOHN ROWLING
Interest rates take their toll on the housing market as interest rates fall nationally by -0.1%.


House prices in England and Wales fell slightly in July, property research company Hometrack says, offering another sign the market may be cooling in the face of higher interest rates.

The biggest price falls were in London and the South West at -0.7%, while a dearth of new buyers has also helped create a "significant excess of supply", the non-seasonally adjusted survey said.

"Recent interest rate rises continue to take their toll on the housing market ... House prices are now very near their peak in terms of affordability and the recent housing boom now appears to be well and truly over," said John Wriglesworth, Hometrack's housing economist.

New buyers fell by -4%, following a drop of -0.6% last month. This has practically wiped out the excess demand that has prevailed previously accoring to Hometrack's National Demand Index.

Cities that fared worse were Brighton (-1.9%), Reading (-1.2%), Exeter (-1.2%) and Oxford (-1.0%).


However, as the figures are non-seasonally adjusted, they may overstate the degree of cooling in the market. The summer is often a slow time for house sales and an easing in prices is often seen.


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