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House prices down and set to fall further

House prices have dropped by 3.9 per cent over the past year and are set for further falls as sellers become more realistic about the value of their property, according to a new survey.

The number of sales agreed by agents rose by 10.6 per cent in June - its highest level for three months - after the market was boosted by sellers agreeing to lower prices, according to housing intelligence firm Hometrack.

Prices fell by 0.1 per cent in June and have now dropped in 11 of the past 12 months.

They will fall by about 1 per cent in the second half of the year as more new homes come onto the market but demand remains subdued, causing the number of homes on estate agents’ books to rise, it predicts.

Hometrack research director Richard Donnell said: “The second half of the year is set to see subdued demand keeping a further downward pressure on prices.

“While the balance between supply and demand is not significantly out of kilter, subdued demand and weak consumer confidence are set to keep headline prices under modest downward pressure over the months ahead.”

The improvement in activity in the housing market in June was also the result of a bounce-back after a slump in May when viewings were disrupted by bank holidays around Easter and the royal wedding.

Activity in the market varies in different parts of the country, with demand for homes in London remaining strong where the average time a property stays on the market is at just six weeks. But in Wales it takes an average of 14 weeks to find a buyer.

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