Friday, December 12, 2008

House prices bears, bulls and the National Housing Federation

A good place to read about the property crash is the website An addition to that site is the inclusion of house price predictions. They vary from housing market bears suggesting falls of 50% from the market peak to bulls like the National Housing Federation who predict a 25% rise over the next five years.

I must say that I lean towards the bears. Capital Economics – who now forecast a fall of up to 35% over the next three years – had long warned that a house price crash was on the way. (Their voices should not have been so lonely. Ultimately house prices and incomes had to be brought back into line. Buy-to-let investors and permissive lending could only stretch the elastic so long.)

It is good to see that the NHF have moderated their predictions – last year the NHF was suggesting that house prices would continue to spiral with a 40% rise from 2007 to 2012. While the NHF was right to draw attention to the need for new homes and the problem of affordability, I still feel a bit uncomfortable. I have seen the suggestion on the blogosphere that the NHF was inadvertently helping to ramp up house prices.

It is worth noting some of the NHF’s members are painfully learning the reality of a market correction hitting property sales and land values.

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