Property prices nosedive as credit crunch bites

PUBLISHED: 14:03 07 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:25 15 June 2010

THE CREDIT crunch is hitting house property prices in the Axe Valley, and sellers are getting up to 15 per cent less than their asking price. This is according to estate agents in the area, on the back of a report by property intelligence group Hometrack.

THE CREDIT crunch is hitting house property prices in the Axe Valley, and sellers are getting up to 15 per cent less than their asking price.This is according to estate agents in the area, on the back of a report by property intelligence group Hometrack.The group reports the average seller in the South West got under 90 per cent of their asking price in September - the lowest since it first launched its index in 2001.But Axe Valley estate agents say the figure could be as low as 85 per cent in the area, as events on the world market cause uncertainty among households.While Hometrack records a 7.4 per cent drop in the number of new buyers registering with estate agents last month, an estate agents in Seaton said it was as low as 50 per cent.Manager of Fortnam Smith and Banwell in Seaton, Julie White, said: "The number of people registering with us is considerably lower. But those who have, tend to have cash to move - so are not just speculating. "Most of our offers are close to the asking price, but there are some which are lower, hence the 5 per cent difference on last year."She felt that as a coastal town, most interested house hunters were people looking for a second home and to invest, so they were less affected than those inland.However, she believes the situation is likely to worsen, and feels the negative media coverage is partly to blame."The media - with its 'doom and gloom' is causing people to get wary and wait. Unless there's some drastic announcement, I think it will get worse."Director of Morgan York in Axminster, Peter Dolan, agreed for those more inland business was even more difficult.He said: "We are finding the market very difficult. I think it's going to get worse before it gets better and we need to be more proactive in this day and age."The government and the press haven't helped. But even if Labour were pushed out of power, it would not be an overnight process."McKinlay's in Axminster refused to comment.While Richard Pittendrigh of Martin Diplock also estimated house prices were down by 10 to 15 per cent and also expecting a further drop."Some home buyers are just sitting on the fence," he said. "It's about demand up to a point -people are not spending money because they think prices will fall. But if someone is looking for a home, they are not looking to drive a bargain."Estate agent Gary Bilbie from Palmer Snell in Lyme Regis said houses in the area were selling for around 10 per cent less than last year."We've weathered until now on houses with sensible prices. There's uncertainty at the moment with the situation in America and the banks and people don't want to expose themselves as they don't know what the future holds. On the bright side, he said it was potentially a good time to buy: "I would say it's a good time to buy if you're sensible, are prepared to move quickly and have spare cash - you can get in with a strong offer and negotiate hard.


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