August housing market subdued

Both Nationwide and Halifax reported similar falls in their house price indices for August, as the downward trend gathered pace. Nationwide reported an average fall of 1.9% in August and Halifax 1.8%, with both lenders now quoting the annual rate of decline in double figures for the first time in at least 18 years.

While different, the average price given by both lenders is now below the new stamp duty threshold of £175,000 announced by the Chancellor last week, which as the 12 month limit for the higher threshold approaches, could breathe some life back in to the housing market.

Commenting on the figures Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said:

"Recent activity levels in the housing market have been very subdued. House builders in particular have been reporting significant reductions in site visits and reservations of new properties since this time last year, in spite of a big increase in the use of sales incentives. House builders report that a lack of confidence in the market is the biggest reason behind the drop off in demand, although changes in lending criteria are also reported as an issue.

The Halifax figures show that the average price of a home in the UK was at the same level in August 2008 as it was in February 2006.

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