This year looks set to have the lowest number of housing transactions in 40 years.
A total of 840,000 transactions are predicted, almost 50% lower than in 2007, and the equivalent of the average home changing hands just once every 26 years.
House prices are also heading slowly but surely down, Hometrack reported this morning.
The survey says that asking prices tiptoed down just 0.2% this month – but after similar tiny falls every month for the last 16 months.
The small size of the falls means that average national house prices are down by just 2.3% compared with a year ago. Consumer confidence, says Hometrack, is down by a lot more.
Only in London have house prices remained unchanged over the last two months, but Hometrack warns that London is unlikely to escape the continued turmoil in the economic markets, and that when prices start to fall in the capital, the scale of headline price falls will start to accelerate.
Nor is the drop in national asking prices boosting sales. Hometrack says that while it expects a four-decade low in transactions this year, it does not think sales will pick up next year.
Demand from buyers has continued to drop off, by 2.2% in the last month. Hometrack also observes that only ‘committed sellers’ are putting their homes on the market and are having to ‘align’ their prices to meet what buyers are prepared to pay.
Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, which bases its findings on responses from estate agents, said: “Demand is likely to continue to fall in the run-up to Christmas, keeping the supply/demand balance in negative territory.
“As a result, Hometrack expects to see an acceleration in price falls in the months ahead.”