Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The property market and the implications for housing policy and housing associations

The property website Rightmove reports that the asking price for houses moved up last month. Rightmove's latest survey for the month to February 9 shows that asking prices rose 3.2 per cent to £237,856. The rise, averaging £7,428, pushed the annual rate of growth up to 5.8 per cent, from 3.4 per cent in January.

Don’t get over-excited. This is asking prices – the prices are much higher than the final sales prices recorded by the Land Registry. Rightmove also point out that there is often such a pick-up in February.

Perhaps the real picture is better shown by the falling prices – some pretty spectacular – on Property Snake.

No doubt there are some recession-proof areas, particularly in London – but the property market correction is surely here.

What does this mean for housing policy and housing providers? Some housing associations will be struggling to sell the shared ownership properties that they have built or got through section 106s. Where business plans rely upon shared ownership and even outright market sales there could be problems. Those problems could have an impact for the policy-makers (and those suffering the effects of the housing shortage) where difficulties prevent the delivery of ambitious affordable house-building plans (plans that already seem to be a bit of bother).

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