Saturday, January 19, 2008

Interest Rates Curbing House Price Growth

Interest Rates Curbing House Price Growth Property prices grew by their slowest rate for some 18 months, new research indicates. The value of the average house increased by some 0.1 per cent over the course of July to 176,300 pounds - the lowest monthly increase noted since the beginning of 2006. With the latest figures indicating the third consecutive month for a slowing in property price growth, year-on-year inflation was now reported to stand at 5.9 per cent, down from the 6.4 per cent recorded in June and the “recent high” of 6.8 per cent reached in April. Figures from the firm indicated that London, Wales and the south-east of England were the only areas that had seen house prices rise over the course of the month. With London said to have seen property values rise by 0.2 per cent, in comparison to the 1.8 per cent increase noted in March. The capital - which had been declared by Hometrack as the “engine for house price growth” over the last 12 months - was now said to have suffered from the downturn in market conditions witnessed across Britain. Five regions across England were said to have exhibited constant house prices, with the east Midlands and the Yorkshire and Humber area posting decreases of 0.2 and 0.1 per cent respectively. Richard Donnell, director of research for Hometrack, said: “It was inevitable that the steady increase in interest rates which began last year would ultimately impact on levels of housing demand right across the market - a trend that has been exacerbated by the seasonal slowdown in activity over the summer.” Mr Donnell added that slowdown in price rises has been “accelerated” by a recent increase in the availability of housing put up for sale. This surge was attributed to estate agents encouraging would-be vendors to put their homes on the market ahead of what had been the original June 1st deadline for home information packs. However, he noted that overall demand for property is set to “remain weak” over the rest of 2007 as the effects of recent interest rate increases by the Bank of England make their presence felt on the housing sector. Overall, property was reported to witness a further slowdown in growth as it moves more “towards a buyers’ market”. In a study conducted earlier this month, Bradford and Bingley indicated that 46 per cent of prospective first-time buyers are worried that houses are set to become more expensive during forthcoming months. Despite recent interest rates impacting upon consumers’ day-to-day finances, just over a quarter of those surveyed stated that if they do not get on the property ladder now than they may be unable to do so in later life. As a result, director of mortgages Andy Wiggans claimed that such consumers are now willing to take out a secured loan “at almost any cost”. However, with the most recent Bank of England base rate rise forcing borrowers on a typical £120,000 mortgage to find an extra £25 every month to meet monthly repayments, Mr Wiggans warned potential first-time buyers against over-stretching themselves financially, “especially as there may be further rate rises to come”. Tom Dawson is the Editor in Chief for Essentially Home Loans where visitors can apply for cheap loans online We also specialise in debt consolidation loans and secured loans

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