Estate agent says rental market is linked to price fall

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A PORTSMOUTH estate agent says a rise in investment buyers and the growing tourism industry have contributed to a fall in house prices.

A survey carried out by Halifax House Price Index revealed the average house price was £161,094 last month – 0.6 per cent lower than in June and the previous July.

The index expects prices to stay the same for the rest of the year unless the economy worsens.

‘Edd Haddock, owner of Taylors Estate Agent, in North End, said: ‘It’s the year of the investment buyer.

‘The rental property market is booming.

‘Instead of keeping £300,000 in a bank where they will get little interest people are buying and letting out multiple properties.

‘People are selling their homes to investment buyers at a cheaper rate because they don’t want to be sat around for months waiting for a first-time or family buyer and potentially lose more money.’

Mr Haddock, who has been an estate agent for 18 years, added that anti-money-laundering solicitors working for banks are now involved in the sale of a house – which slows the process down.

They go over the sale carefully to make sure there is no money laundering, and that can delay a sale for up to three months.

‘So I’m certain that has had an effect on prices,’ he added.

‘Plus tourism is on the increase. People can’t buy a house when they’re in another country.’

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said: ‘We expect little change in prices over the remainder of 2012, so long as the economic climate does not worsen substantially.’