Monday, April 27, 2009

The housing market: gloom and green shots?

According to today’s Financial Times house prices fell at the lowest monthly rate for a year in April. The latest Hometrack survey found that house prices fell by 0.3% in the month taking prices down by 10.1 per cent over the last 12 months. Hometrack report that buyer interest and sales are up too. The website have designated the Hometrack survey as Pointless survey of the week – although that might be premature at its only mid-morning on Monday.

The May issue of the excellent housing magazine ROOF includes the journal’s 2009 Affordability Index. It finds affordability has hot a five year high.

Of course, (more) affordable house prices are essentially theoretical until prospective buyers can access the mortgages which they need. Here there is gloom rather than green shoots. The BBC is reporting today that the number of mortgages approved for house purchases fell to 26,097 last month - down 6.8% from February and 25% lower than a year earlier.

It looks like more of the same for the moment. That means challenging times for housing associations as well as families, builders and developers.

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