Unsold Properties Hit High As House Prices Fall, Painting A 'Subdued' Picture Of UK Property Market

The Huffington Post   Dina Rickman First Posted: 18/07/2011 00:04 BST Updated: 16/09/2011 11:12 BST

Unsold properties have reached record highs in the UK as asking property prices fall, a new report has found.

For the first time this year house prices have dropped, with a fall of 1.6% in July – after six months of rising. The rightmove.co.uk survey also shows seven out of 10 properties put on the market in 2011 are still available.

The study paints a bleak picture of the UK housing market, with rightmove director Miles Shipside saying: "While property has a good long-term record as a hedge against inflation, in the short term property prices have become significantly cheaper in real terms as the cost of living has gone up, while the cost of housing has stood still or gone backwards".

The news came as little surprise to Dr Ellen Brooks-Pollock, an academic living in the west Midlands.

She told the Huffington Post: “We just bought a house, it was fairly easy we bought a house in Coventry. There were lots of houses on the market and they kept on coming down in price.”

But she said she believed the regional picture varied.

“There was quite a lot of houses to choose from. We were looking in Cambridge, which was a total nightmare. Every house we made an offer on had 15 offers. I think it’s really affected different parts of the country differently.”

Dr Brooks-Pollock’s experience confirms recent reports about regional variations in the market.

Suren Thiru, housing economist at Halifax said the broader picture was of a “subdued” housing market.

“The monthly numbers show a snapshot of what’s happening in any particular month, broader measures give you a better picture. The underlying trend in the housing market is broadly stable, if a little subdued.

“We expect little moving in house prices for the rest of the year.”

Mortgage lending figures for June improved, with a 12% rise from the previous month, according to the council or mortgage lenders. However analysts said the spike was due to re-mortgaging, not increased movement in the property market.

A recent report by the economists Pricewaterhouse Coopers predicted UK house prices would not get back on track for almost a decade.

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