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Housing market holds up over traditional sticky holiday period

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  • 31/01/2003
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The housing market has set a solid pace to the start of the year, with house prices and volumes hold...

The housing market has set a solid pace to the start of the year, with house prices and volumes holding up over January, traditionally a difficult month.

According to property website, rightmove.co.uk, houses are selling three or four days faster than in January 2002, averaging just over 70 days before being sold.

Although the national average house price dipped 0.4% to £155,481, this was upbeat compared to the 3.9% fall that was seen last January. It was also the third month in a row where the change was under 1%, suggesting the market is levelling out from the leaps it was making last year.

In London, prices held up and increased by 2.5%, although the South East saw prices slip by 1.7%. However, properties in London are now taking the longest to sell, at an average of 80 days.

The number of properties coming onto the market in December rose to around 40,000, the highest figure since September.

Richard Donnell, head of residential research at estate agent FPDSavills, said: ‘House prices are rising quickly under the £120,000 mark, and this is where the bulk of properties are valued. This is why we are seeing volume increasing.’

However, he was wary of the figures showing time taken to sell properties, as he said so much depended on regional variations, and the individual circumstances of the sale.

Market analyst, Datamonitor, which also released figures, said the high end of the London property market could see prices falling by as much as 20% this year, on top of the 10% fall that has been seen since the summer.

While the predictions for the £1m plus properties will not affect the majority of buyers and intermediaries in the market, Datamonitor said the drop may herald a price adjustment throughout the country.


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