There is a divergence in what happened to house prices in 2010 between the Nationwide and the Halifax.
The Nationwide said that house prices remained broadly static in 2010 whereas the latest figures from the Halifax House Price index indicate that they actually fell by 3.4% in 2010.
What is interesting about the Halifax figures is that they show the rate of decline in the last quarter being less than previous quarter.
That means that house prices were stabilising towards the end of last year – most of the falls in property values had occurred earlier in the year.
So perhaps the divergence in figures between the two lenders is not as big as it first seems. A stabilising, broadly flat property market appears to be the consensus.
What is going to happen to prices in 2011, though?
“Looking forward, we expect limited movement in house prices during 2011 but with the risks on the downside. Interest rates are likely to remain very low for some time. This will continue to support a favourable affordability position for those entering the market and limit financial pressure on existing homeowners to sell.”, says Martin Ellis, housing economist with the Halifax.
Property owners seem a bit gloomy about the prospects for 2011 and the numbers of sellers is likely to fall as a result. Less supply may counter the lessening of demand so we may well see another flat year for house values again this year.