House prices 'could fall 40 per cent without loan boost'

House prices could drop by a total of 40 per cent unless the Government steps in to boost lending, a report says today. The extreme scenario painted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) would see prices plunge by a record 25 per cent this year after last year's 16 per cent slide.

If the Government's banking bailout is able to boost mortgage approvals to 50,000 a month from the current level of about 32,000, the price fall from peak to trough could be limited to 32 per cent with values bottoming out in the first quarter of 2010, CEBR said. But without effective intervention to increase lending, the total fall would be 40 per cent with prices stagnating until 2012 and not getting above 2003 levels until the following year.

As part of a range of measures to get banks lending again, the Government intends to guarantee mortgage-backed securities to restart the market for securitisation – packaging up of loans for sale to investors. Securitisation provided £200bn of finance for banks in 2007 before the market was paralysed by fears stemming from the sub-prime crisis in the US.

The plan was recommended by Sir James Crosby, the former chief executive of HBOS, who predicted in November that, without action, net lending for house purchases could fall below zero as fewer loans are made than are paid off. Bank of England figures on Friday showed a rise in mortgage approvals to 31,000 in December from 27,000 a month earlier. The surprise increase followed data from the Royal Institution of Chartered surveyors that showed new buyer enquiries beginning to rise.

Halifax, the country's biggest mortgage lender, has pointed out that prices for first-time buyers are now more affordable than for years but potential buyers remain wary of further falls while banks are limiting their lending as bad debts rise.

Benjamin Williamson, an economist at CEBR, said: "The glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered housing market is that prices and interest rates are now at levels whereby any improvement in lending is likely to lead to substantially increased activity and at the very least a bottoming out in house prices. However, if lending remains close to current very low levels, the spectre of the biggest annual drop in UK GDP since post-war demobilisation in 2009, with concomitant rises in unemployment and collapsing confidence, will likely lead to an acceleration in house price falls."

CEBR said that the crisis in the housing market lay at the heart of the credit crunch and that direct intervention to shore up the supply of mortgages would stimulate activity. The research unit added that a recovering housing market might play a part in a broader boost to consumer confidence that would help revive the economy.

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

    £30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Sales Team Leader - Wakefield, West Yorkshire

    £21000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged b...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders