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North-South divide in property prices, says Hometrack

publication date: Jul 23, 2009
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For the third consecutive month, house prices remained unchanged in July, according to the latest national housing market survey from Hometrack. A market tracking sideways and a north/south split are all in evidence.

But looking further ahead, a broad based housing recovery could be some years away.
Commenting on the survey, Richard Donnell, Director of Research at Hometrack said, “A lack of mortgage finance, low buyer confidence and growing fears of unemployment are currently being offset by increased demand, a pick up in sales and a growing scarcity of housing for sale.”

The latest survey found that agents and surveyors reported that house prices increased across 10% of postcodes in July - the vast majority in southern England where a growing scarcity of housing is putting upward pressure on prices. This contrasts with the north of the country where agents report ‘difficult’ market conditions characterised by more stock but weak demand.

The north/south differential is highlighted in the time taken to sell which in southern regions of England is now below 9 weeks - as low as 5.8 in London (the lowest since March 2008). In the midlands and north the figure is still over 10 weeks and in Wales as high as 11.8 weeks. As Donnell points out, “This reinforces the emergence of a clear split in market conditions between the north and south of the country.”