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Small rise in house prices expected in 2012

Small rise in house prices expected in 2012

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 24/11/2011
First Published: 24/11/2011

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This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The property market has been forecast to remain relatively flat in 2012, as the disparity between house prices in different regions continues to widen.

Nationally house prices will rise by 3% next year, according to predictions by the property and financial services group Assetz.

The anticipation of continued strong performance in London and upmarket commuter hotspots in the south east is expected to be the key driver behind the moderate growth overall.

However, it is predicted that many parts of the country will see no growth and marginal price falls, with unemployment being a crucial factor.

"Areas which are reliant on manufacturing or the public sector, which are struggling with high levels of unemployment, will see very low transaction levels next year and a fall in values of as much as 5%," said Stuart Law, chief executive of Assetz.

Also expected to drag the market down is the Eurozone crisis, which Mr Law believes could continue to limit the amount UK banks are able to lend and also damage consumer confidence.

Interest rates are also predicted to remain low over the medium term, meaning tracker mortgages will continue to represent an attractive option for homeowners.

Meanwhile, a slightly brighter future is predicted for first time buyers, with Mr Law hoping to see a continued modest improvement in the number of higher loan-to-value mortgage products and shared equity schemes becoming available.

"We are also likely to see a continuation of parents opting to help their children onto the property ladder instead of keeping money in the bank, where they are seeing little return on their savings," he added.

However, it is the booming buy-to-let market that is predicted to continue to underpin the property market next year.

It is anticipated considerable numbers of landlords will return to the market, while the number of new investors seeking a home for their cash that will generate a decent income is also expected to rise.

According to Assetz research, over three quarters of existing UK property investors are considering buying additional investment properties in 2012.

"Rents will continue to grow strongly, in the region of +5% next year, as restricted mortgage lending and poor employment prospects has left a whole generation of potential first time buyers with little prospect of buying a home," concluded Mr Law.

"Consequently landlords are set to benefit from another year of strong yields, albeit alongside only modest capital growth."

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