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The average price of homes for sale in England and Wales fell to £222,762 during the four weeks to August 8, about 2.2 % less than in the previous 4 weeks. The property website Rightmove says this drop in asking prices was in line with a similar fall seen in August 2008, although it was still the biggest drop recorded so far this year. Price rises had been experienced in five of the previous seven months.
It added that the market was continuing to be held back by a lack of mortgage finance. Traffic wise, Rightmove has seen its busiest month ever, despite the fact that there is usually less activity during the summer, due to potential buyers going on holiday.
However, there continues to be a shortage of available properties, with 82,700 homes put up for sale during the month, 23 % fewer than in August last year. It is also around half the level of new properties that were put on the market in August 2006 and 2007.
Leading homebuilders Barratt and Redrow have complained that restrictions on mortgage financing is preventing a recovery in the country’s property market.
Bovis Homes have reported that potential buyers are still unable to get a mortgage, although there is continued interest in their developments. Persimmon have seen an increase in reservations but also hit out at the lack of lending. ‘We are encouraged by the improvement in sales rates when compared to last year but will remain cautious until mortgage availability improves further and employment prospects stabilise,’ they said.