UK house prices fall at record rate

LONDON - British house prices fell at a record annual rate in July to their lowest level in two years, data from Britain's biggest mortgage lender HBOS Plc showed on Thursday, as the outlook for the economy darkens.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 7 Aug 2008, 6:07 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:51 AM

Prices fell by 1.7 percent on the month, the sixth straight fall in a row, according to the lender's Halifax house price index. That took them nearly 10.9 percent lower on the year, a sharper decline than at any time in the last housing crash in the early 1990s.

"This continues the run of bad news on the housing market. Declines have been pretty unrelenting for the last six months," said Dominic White at ABN AMRO. "This could go on for the next year," he said.

More than 20,000 pounds has been wiped off the value of the average British home since the peak in prices in August last year and economists say prices could fall by another 10-15 percent as lenders have tightened up borrowing terms.

The grim news came as Bank of England policymakers were holding their monthly rate-setting meeting but no change is expected as inflation is nearly double the central bank's target.

Still, most analysts expect the BoE to cut rates at some point, even if not for a few months, as the housing market slide takes its toll on the wider economy.

Housebuilders have announced thousands of job cuts and furniture retailers have been hard hit as the number of property transactions has halved from a year ago.

Earlier this week a study by ratings agency S&P said house prices could fall by another 17 percent, which would increase the number of people in negative equity from 70,000 households to 1.7 million next year.

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