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Househunters held back by threat of war

Over half of househunters in the UK and 70 per cent in London feel the threat of war with Iraq has been adversely affecting the housing market, says research by property website rightmove.co.uk.

Its survey of 1,037 people looking to move house carried out this month shows that 58 per cent feel that concerns about the conflict have been damaging confidence in the property market.

Thirty-two per cent say such concerns are directly affecting their willingness to look at properties, making them less likely to proceed with a purchase quickly. This figure rises to 50 per cent in London.

Rightmove&#39s house price index for March shows that the rate of annual house price increases fell by 1 per cent to 22 per cent from 23 per cent in February.

The average property asking price this month is £160,536, up from £131,049 at the same time last year and £158,632 in February.

The number of properties coming on to the market this month is up by 20 per cent on last year, leading to more of a balance between supply and demand.

Managing director Ed Williams says: “It is unclear how deep or long-lasting concerns over war will prove to be. Indeed, our website has been receiving record level of visitors.

“The situation has some parallels with the situation after September 11 when people continued to look at property on the internet but took a few months to turn that interest into a real commitment to move.”

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Teather & Greenwood – Property Investment for Pensions Plc

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