Debt steering consumers away from house buying?

Some consumers may be avoiding buying homes because of the debt problems this may bring about.

House prices soared in the years before the recessio…

Some consumers may be avoiding buying homes because of the debt problems this may bring about.

House prices soared in the years before the recession and have since partly dropped back, but recent times have seen little change and this has been the case again in July, according to Nationwide.

Its house price index for the month indicated a 0.2 per cent increase in prices, making the average home value £168,731. In June there was no change at all.

Such figures are a sign that the market is showing little change at a time when the number of transactions is historically very low, Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner suggested.

He stated: "Only 204,000 housing transactions were recorded in the second quarter of 2011, the lowest outturn since Q2 2009. No doubt much of this reflects the uncertain economic climate.

"However, some commentators have suggested that there may be more fundamental factors at play, such as a trend away from owner-occupancy."

That second comment may reflect a change in attitudes among consumers who are already burdened with debt from a range of sources, be it maxed-out credit cards, loans, overdrafts or the legacy of student loans and fees.

Some may judge that in such circumstances, buying a house is still too large a burden to take on.

Recent research by estate agency Rightmove showed selling a home is getting harder for many, with 70 per cent of properties on the market at the start of this year still being up for sale by June.

By Joe White
 

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