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‘Sellers to flood market next year as Hips loom on horizon’

Estate agent Haart predicts that property prices will rise by 5 per cent in the first half of 2006.

It says prices have risen by between 2 and 3 per cent this year, representing a period of realignment after double-digit growth in the last three years.

Haart says sellers have finally adjusted their expectations on prices and buyers are likely to return to the market as speculation wanes over a housing crash. It believes that property investment in Sipps and the introduction of home information packs will boost the market next year, with a rush of sellers putting their homes on the market before Hips are introduced compulsorily in June 2007.

Chief executive Paul Smith says: “This year has been a period of realignment for the housing market. Sellers have started to price their property realistically and the market has consequently readjusted. Now we are seeing higher levels of activity as confidence has started to return and buyers are realising that the market is not going to crash.”

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Take a Baring

At last, most European economies are picking up speed and unemployment is falling. With the new German coalition likely to agree on sensible economic reforms, that economy should recover as well.

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