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Guardian: Should I Buy A House Now?

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This gets this week's 'no shti sherlock award' (NSS)

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http://money.guardian.co.uk/houseprices/st...2170716,00.html

Should I buy a house now?

Miles Brignall

Monday September 17, 2007

The Guardian

House for sale signs

Some commentators think house prices have peaked. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Given the current turmoil in the loan markets, the problems at Northern Rock, and further evidence that the housing market is cooling fast, it takes strong nerves to complete a purchase this week. If you are one of those currently going through it, then you've probably spent a sleepless weekend. After several years of strong house price growth, one word sums up the current market outlook: uncertainty.

The cost of mortgages has already started to rise - last week, two the UK's largest lenders, Halifax and Abbey, raised the price of their "tracker" products for new customers. At the same time, house prices in some areas, and in some sectors - notably flats - are starting to look decidedly shaky.

Article continues

Optimists will be keen to point out that nothing fundamental has changed in the past few weeks. The UK economy remains strong, unemployment is low and demand for housing still outstrips supply. That said, the atmosphere in the market feels very different this week. Figures published today by Rightmove show that asking prices fell 2.6% last month. They also show that London house prices - the mainstay of the housing market in recent years - fell in August for the first time since 2004. Last week the Royal Institution of Surveyors said much the same thing.

When you throw in rumours that there are large numbers of empty newly built flats in certain parts of the country, you can see why many people are calling this the top of the market.

So would I buy a house this week? If it were a special house I had always coveted and my personal affairs were in good order, I would probably go through with it - but I'd be talking down the price like crazy. In all other circumstances, it might be an idea to hold off for a few weeks or months, at least until things are looking a lot calmer.

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When you throw in rumours that there are large numbers of empty newly built flats in certain parts of the country, you can see why many people are calling this the top of the market.

As many of us have said, its no suprise there are empty flats around. Thats great for people who want to buy flats. But who wants to bring up little Timmy and Tilly in a flat. Not me.

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