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Property prices fall across South-east

House prices fell in March with London and the South-east suffering, according to the Hometrack monthly national survey.

The slowdown has been particularly marked in London and the South East, which saw widespread price falls. The highest falls were in Central London, the City of London and Berkshire, dropping 0.4 per cent, while Wiltshire and Surrey saw falls of 0.3 per cent.

Prices fell in 17 counties while 14 counties saw prices at a standstill.

Price rises were seen in Cumbria at 0.8 per cent, East Riding of Yorkshire at 0.4 per cent, Mid Wales and North Lincolnshire at 0.3 per cent and Dorset 0.2 per cent.

The average house price of the 10 counties with biggest falls was £228,860 while that of the 10 counties with the highest increases is £101,400. The average UK house price now stands at £135,500.

Hometrack says lender prudence is an increasingly important factor in clamping down on price increases. Most are now limiting income multiples to 3.5 times salary, which has put a ceiling on affordability in many of the more expensive areas.

Hometrack housing economist John Wriglesworth says: “House price stagnation looks set to continue, led by a marked slowdown in activity in London and the South-east. Despite low interest rates, high employment and growing income, the heat has definitely left the market. Prospective homehunters are holding back from buying, not least due to worries and insecurity over the consequences of the war with Iraq. Fear dissuades people from moving and they stay put.”

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