What will happen in 2009?

As a regular reader of this column, you will know that I am not given to boasting. “A modest guy with so much to be modest about” as the old saying goes but I couldn’t help myself when a journalist suggested earlier in the week that no one has predicted the way the housing market has gone this year.

I hate to contradict anyone but in case you are interested, on 4th January 2007 I was quizzed on the Today program about my suggestions on the future direction of the housing market which had been reported in the FT under the headline “Property agent calls top of house market”.

Although the RICS and others were in denial for far too long, at a round table for MoneyWeek later in the year I was once again out on a limb. These were the predictions for house prices made in October 2007;-

So where will prices be in 12 months?
James Ferguson
Economist and stockbroker at Pali International.
Down 3–5%  

Stuart Law
Managing director of property investment advisers Assetz.
Up 5-7%  

Ed Mead
Director of Douglas & Gordon Estate Agents.
Up 1-9%  

Henry Pryor
CEO of property website PrimeMove.com.
Down 15%  

John Wriglesworth
Managing director of Wriglesworth Consultancy.
No movement

The Halifax, Nationwide and CML have all given up trying to predict the market for next year and I know only too well the curse of Roger Bootle but if you are interested and follow form then here is my prognostication for 2009.

• House prices nationally will be back to their level in 2001. A fall for many from the peak of around 50%.

• Repossessions will rise in 2009 to over 75,000. A tenth of all homes sold!

• The number of estate agents will fall by one third to around 7,500 offices.

• The Nationwide and Halifax indices will register 15% falls but will still be behind the times.

• The Land Registry will still lag since they don’t include repossessions in their stats.

• Average asking prices will stabilise about 15% below where they are today.

• Volume of sales in England and Wales will rise slightly to around 750,000

• Total number of different mortgages available will fall to under 1000. (from 3,400 a the end of 2007 and over 8,000 in 2006).

• £63m will be raised for the Exchequer from VAT charged on Home Information Packs that weren’t needed because the property never sold.

Thank you for the emails and comments, for excusing the many spelling mistakes, the occasional bigoted opinion and for the many, many expressions of support and agreement. Have a happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.