RBS predicts only modest falls

Nia Williams

October 8, 2010

Commenting on the Halifax findings, former Halifax economist Fionnuala Earley – now consumer economist at Royal Bank of Scotland – said: “The 3.6% fall in prices during September reported by Halifax is shocking, but it’s a mistake to read too much into one month’s figure.

“This is true when markets are stable, but when transaction levels are low and markets are at turning points, the data tends to be particularly volatile.

“The more reliable quarterly change comes in at -0.9%, almost identical to the 1% fall reported by Nationwide last week. The two indices are reporting similar year on year changes close to +3% now too.

“It’s clear that the market is slowing, and that’s what we would expect in the current uncertain economic climate, but the key to how much further they will soften, has much to do with the supply side.

“The latest RICS data shows signs that supply may be tightening up again, forced sales are very low, while new home building remains at very low levels.

“If these supply trends carry on, they offer support for house prices even with low levels of demand and a weak economy. The likelihood would then be only modest falls in house prices, rather than a dip on the scale of 2008.”

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