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UK: House prices fall 10% year to year

  House prices in England and Wales fell by 0.8% in February to stand 10.0% lower than a year ago, the biggest annual fall since property data company Hometrack started its monthly survey in 2000.

Hometrack’s survey, which is based on estate agents’ and surveyors’ estimates of selling prices, has persistently shown lower price falls than data from mortgage lenders such as Nationwide, which reported a 17.6% annual February fall. Hometrack said on Monday that the number of sales agreed was 60% down on a year ago.

Fear of unemployment as the nation suffers a sharp recession and a severe shortage of mortgages, especially for borrowers with small deposits, have put many Britons off making what for most is their biggest financial investment.

“Given the uncertainty over the economic outlook and the prospect of further falls in prices, the majority of households are unwilling to move,” said Richard Donnell, Hometrack’s director of research.

Houses took an average 12 weeks to sell, and sellers typically achieved 88.3% of their initial asking price, similar to recent months, survey participants said. (Reuters)