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Olympics blamed for flat housing market

Holly Black

The Olympics have been blamed for a lack of activity in the housing market in England and Wales in September, as sales fell 24%.

According to LSL Property Services the summer months see an average decline of nine% in market activity, but despite the figure being almost three times as severe this year it says it is not time to panic yet.

Commercial director David Brown says a number of short-term factors hampered the property market in September, but buyer activity is already on the rebound and although house prices were down for the month, it was only by 0.1%, leaving the average house price in England and Wales at £225,374.

However, over the past year house prices have risen 2.2%.

Brown says that the housing market is still facing a lot of problems and the lack of lending, particularly to first-time buyers, along with continued uncertainty of job prospects across the country are stifling sales. "Much hangs on an improvement in the mortgage market," he says. And while many lenders are hopeful that things will improve once the Funding for Lending scheme has had time to bed in, no one wants to see a slowdown in the meantime.

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