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Public divided over future of house prices

The public are split on prospects for the property market, with 53 per cent

saying they expect prices to increase significantly this year but 47 per

cent saying prices will stabilise or fall, according to the Woolwich.

The company&#39s survey of 1,000 people in December found that warnings from

analysts of a slowdown in prices has not adversely affected the majority of

consumers&#39 attitudes about the outlook for the market this year.

But the Woolwich says there is clearly divided opinion and it believes this

view will lead to a gradual slowdown in price growth.

Thirty-four per cent expect house prices to increase by up to 10 per cent

and 19 per cent expect a bigger jump. Thirty-two per cent expect prices to

remain static and 15 per cent think they will fall.

Woolwich predicts base rates will rise by around 0.75 per cent this year

and it does not believe base rates can be cut.

Head of mortgages Andy Gray says: “We believe the house purchase market

will slow gradually while more existing homeowners will seek to remortgage

to reduce their outgoings as weaker earnings growth, lower bonus payments,

higher household taxes and interest rate rises work through to the public.”

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