“Liar, Liar, pants on fire!”

A survey out today from property website Primemove.com suggests that the slow down in the housing market may be far worse than mortgage lenders have been suggesting and that the recent action by many in withdrawing their products is contributing to the problems facing those who wish to buy and sell.

Primemove tracked a sample of over 18,500 homes that had been put on the market since August last year and found that just 20% had either been sold or had been withdrawn from the market. The website, which aggregates property for sale from across the internet looked at individual homes across the country and from all price brackets and found that just 3,850 were no longer being advertised. Spokesman and founder Henry Pryor said “the figures from the Land Registry which were published on Tuesday showed that the number of sales in December was down by 40% when compared with the same month in 2006 but it looks as if around 80% of people who have put their property on the market since the Northern Rock crisis have yet to find a buyer.

“Whilst we have been urging caution for the past 12 months, lenders have been arguing that things were not too bad and their indexes have been suggesting that house prices have continued to slightly rise – even into the new year. Frankly “liar, liar, pants on fire”. I don’t believe a word of it and it does a huge disservice to sellers and to the rest of the market when those responsible for funding house purchases not only deny that the scale of the problem but compound it by withdrawing their products so that even if someone finds something to buy they now find that some banks don’t have a single mortgage product to sell!

Pryor continued. “I feel like the little boy who has spotted the Kings wardrobe malfunction. Lenders are suggesting that they are withdrawing their products because they don’t want to provide a poor service to their customers. Well, I hope that our new nationalised bank that has already directly cost taxpayers £24bn will decide that here is an opportunity and start to fill the demand that exists from people who want to buy but can’t get a mortgage. Those who want to buy a home need institutions to get back to work and start lending money. They may have to charge more for it but at least there would be a market and both buyers and sellers would know where they stand. There seems to be money to pay bonuses but not for lending. As the saying goes, when you have money they want to lend you more. When you haven’t, they aren’t interested.