Housing Market `Very Strong' as Average Price Rises 10pc in a Year; PROPERTY: Demand Still Outstrips Supply in Wales

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 5, 2002 | Go to article overview

Housing Market `Very Strong' as Average Price Rises 10pc in a Year; PROPERTY: Demand Still Outstrips Supply in Wales


Byline: WILL SMALE

YET another house-price report says the cost of property is continuing to soar across Wales.

Yesterday's survey by the Halifax showed that property prices in Wales increased by 10pc over the past year to September.

According to the study, the average price of a property in Wales is now pounds 76,359.

However, the Halifax says this is still well below the UK average price of pounds 116,801 and annual rise of 24.2pc.

Reporting a record UK rise of 4.3pc for September, Martin Ellis, at Halifax, said the UK housing market remained very strong.

``The low level of interest rates and falling unemployment are stimulating demand. In addition, there has been a marked shift in sentiment regarding the outlook for interest rates in the past few months, which may have contributed to the sharp increase in prices in September.

``Homebuyers are no longer expecting an imminent rise in rates, with increasing speculation that the next move in interest rates may indeed be downwards. At the same time, there remains a shortage of properties for sale, particularly in the South, which is adding to the upward pressure on prices.''

The Halifax's report follows similar surveys over the past fortnight by the Principality, Nationwide and the Woolwich.

But while all four reports agree that house prices are continuing to rise across both Wales and the UK, as each uses its own separate data (supplied by branches), they do not agree on the speed and extent.

The Principality believes Welsh house prices are rising somewhat faster than does the Halifax.

As reported in The Western Mail on Monday, Principality calculated that Welsh house prices had increased by an average of 15pc in the year to September, compared to the Halifax's estimate of 10pc.

The Principality puts the average Welsh home at pounds 77,921.

At the Woolwich they believe Wales now has one of the most buoyant housing markets of any UK region, while the Nationwide puts us in the middle of the pack.

Ray Barrowdale, spokesman for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, said it was inevitable that the various banks and building societies would differ slightly in their findings. In comparison, the RICS gets its information from its members, who work for themselves or a host of different firms. Its members across Wales were reportedly generally upbeat.

John Caines, of Payton Jewell Caines Hurry, in Bridgend, said, ``The supply side has improved since June and there would appear to be more choice available now for prospective buyers. …

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