House prices remain "in limbo"

6 August 2012

The price of the average house in the UK has remained unchanged at £161,094 in the last three months, 0.6% lower than the same period last year, according to the Halifax house price index.

July saw a 0.6% fall in house prices following two months of growth. However, despite the monthly fluctuations seen this year, prices are roughly the same as the summer of 2009.

"At a national level, house prices have been very stable over the past year or so. This can largely be explained by the static nature of supply and demand conditions during this period. Looking forward, we expect little change in prices over the remainder of 2012 so long as the economic climate in the UK does not worsen substantially," says Martin Ellis, Halifax's chief housing economist.

Commenting on the Halifax figures, Russell Quirk, founder of, says that the property market, like the economy, is in limbo, lifted by low interest rates but held back by a lack of confidence and lender caution.

He adds: "Four rises and three falls so far in 2012 says it all - the property market is devoid of direction, exaggerated by the lack of transactions." Quirk believes this could be due to estate agents overvaluing properties in order to gain customers.

Meanwhile, independent buying agent Gabby Adler attributes the lack in confidence to the eurozone crisis and weak economic growth.

"This missing confidence is key and until it returns, house prices on the whole will be flat and bump along the bottom, give or take a few variations from region to region," she says.

Last week, Nationwide figures indicated a fourth decline in house prices in five months, with July seeing a decline of 0.7% in house prices.

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