Sterling falls a lifesaver for London market

The value of prime London homes dropped again in the final quarter of 2008, according to property consultancy Savills.

ImageThe average quarterly drop in prime central London, at -8.7%, rounds off a year that has seen average prime central London values drop by -18.3% and by a full -20% across the board from the peak levels of September 2007, as the company forecast in the autumn.

This has wiped more than £13,000 a month off the value of what was once a £1million family home and left average values around their autumn 2006 levels, but provides clear opportunities to international buyers and equity-rich long-term owners looking to upsize in 2009.

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Political stability influencing overseas property

Buying overseas property has become one of the defining characteristics of consumer behaviour over the last 30 years. Despite the current economic difficulties, there are still purchasers out there.
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Some are driven by the need to find a new life. For some, the current downturn provides an opportunity to convert their savings into a physical asset.

Yet how many potential investors are drawing up clear criteria for their purchases - and how many of those have taken the issues of political stability, climate change and the costs of cashing in their investment seriously?

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Mortgage lending remaining low but positive

Net mortgage lending by building societies was £422million in November - a small improvement in October's £413million but still lower than the £790million that building societies lent in November 2007.
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Gross mortgage lending was £2,595million in November, compared to £4,070million in 2007.

Commenting on the figures, Adrian Coles, Director General of the Building Societies Association said: "The depressed housing market is seeing mortgage lending by building societies remaining low.

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Your predictions for the housing market 2009

2008 will go down as one of the worst years on record for the UK property industry. With lending virtually at a standstill, house prices have plunged - and a glut of rental properties on the market has seen average lettings fall also. House


The recession and massive job losses will only compound the problem over the coming months - so could 2009 be even worse or will this be the year the property market starts to pick up? What will it take to kick-start home sales and what can achieve this?

Tell us your hopes and fears for the property market for 2009 using the comment section below

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Foreign buyers tempted by bargain UK property

A weak pound coupled with dramatic UK house price falls is attracting the interest of foreign property investors.Image

Buyer analysis for the UK housing market by website Home.co.uk, the property search engine, showed a marked increase in buyers from the US, Holland, Switzerland, Singapore and Austria looking to buy UK property.

The number of US buyers using the Home.co.uk property search engine surged by 10% between October and November.

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‘Government too slow – more action needed now’ HBF tells MPs

MPs have been told that the Government was far too slow to react to the housing crisis and that drastic action was needed to reverse the dramatic downturn in the housing market before more jobs were lost.
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And whilst welcoming Government action taken so far, including this week's Homebuy Direct announcement, John Stewart, Home Builders Federation's Director of Economic Affairs said that Government action had been consistently too slow in arriving and nowhere near comprehensive enough.

HBF made a series of suggestions to Government in early 2008 and only now, after many businesses have failed and jobs lost, were significant steps being taken - and they were still not enough, it said.

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Need to sell property before 2009? Better be quick

Online estate agent www.discountpropertyshop.co.uk claims it offers homeowners who need to sell before the end of the year, the best bet in this difficult period. Image

The organisation, which only deals with buyers who are ready to proceed quickly, said it was currently selling properties at more than four times the national average.

Mark Brogan, Managing Director of www.discountpropertyshop.co.uk said: “As the country plunges deeper into recession, more homeowners will need to sell quickly, whether because they can’t afford the mortgage payments and need to avoid being repossessed, are relocating, or for other financial reasons.

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Farmland provides shelter from the storm

As the property market continues its decline and residential development land values plummet, agricultural land ends the year up 21.5% on 2007, demonstrating its relative resilience to recessionary forces.
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Analysis by Savills, tracking values back to 1970, clearly shows that agricultural land values are consistently more closely aligned to wheat prices than the broader economy. After a period of volatility this year, wheat prices are expected to rise in 2009, thus providing a good cushion for agricultural land values.

The fourth quarter of 2008 has seen average farmland values across Britain fall by -4.4%, though the extremely strong growth in the first half of the year has kept most areas well into positive territory year on year. Five-year growth at the year end stands at 135%.

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House prices continue to plummet – but finally signs of hope

House prices across the UK plummeted in November, according to the monthly market report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
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However among the gloomy figures revealed by the survey there were glimmers of hope, as for the third month in a row the percentage of first-time buyers in the housing market increased.

From October to November, the average price of a flat fell from £118,334 to £114,288 while a terraced house reduced in value from £151,305 to £149,589.

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Gross lending declines in November

Gross mortgage lending reached an estimated £14.6billion in November according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This is a 22% fall from October and a 51% fall from November last year.
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While there is typically a decline from October to November, this is considerably larger than usual reflecting the market disruption and continued deterioration of confidence in the economy. 

The CML has also published mortgage market forecasts for 2009, but cautions that in the current challenging environment, the forecasts need to be seen as indicative, rather than as a precise assessment of likely activity.

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