House prices show first annual fall since 2009 - Rightmove

LONDON Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:36am BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Asking prices for residential property in England and Wales showed their first year-on-year fall since September 2009, property marketing company Rightmove said on Monday.

House prices advertised via Rightmove's website -- which covers about 90 percent of homes sold via estate agents -- are 0.3 percent lower this month than in August 2010, at an average 231,543 pounds.

Compared to last month prices are 2.1 percent lower, in part reflecting a seasonal lull.

Rightmove said that average asking prices were just 4.1 percent lower than the peak before the start of the financial crisis in 2007.

The number of sellers is 30 percent lower, as low interest rates and relatively stable employment have meant few sellers have been compelled to cut prices to levels affordable to buyers, who have much less access to mortgage finance than before the crisis.

"This stalemate can continue indefinitely, until it is broken either by an improvement in upside factors, such as a relaxation of mortgage finance, or by a further marked deterioration in employment and a corresponding increase in forced sales," said Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove.

Other surveys of property selling prices have shown average prices a few percent lower than a year ago.

(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Ron Askew)

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