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Act now to move before Christmas

  % Change in month% Change Past YearAve house price
Sep HPI0.7%1.5%£233,139
Aug HPI-2.1%-0.3%£231,543

Key points

  • New sellers’ average asking prices up by 0.7% on the month, but 3.0% down over the summer period
  • Two deadlines should focus the minds of frustrated sellers:

    - Christmas is 98 days away but average time on the market is 94 days, so buyers and sellers need to get serious now if they are to tie up a deal before the festive season;

    - first-time buyer stamp duty relief is due to finish on 25th March 2012.

  • Market recovery appears as far away as ever three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, as key metrics are little changed:

    - new sellers again at 23,000 per week as lack of confidence and inability to move remains;

    - prices up by 2.5% in three years, compared with 16.4% in the previous three year period;

    - unsold stock per estate agency branch still stuck in the high 70s.

  • While new planning proposals may boost housing market activity in the longer term, initiatives supporting mortgage lending such as FirstBuy are the more immediate requirement.
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