British house prices slide 3.4% in 2010: survey

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British housing prices tumbled last year as many homebuyers shunned the property market, a survey from major home-loans provider Halifax showed on Monday.

Prices slumped by 3.4 percent in December 2010, compared with the same month of the previous year, according to a statement from Halifax, which is part of the state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group.

The average value of a home in Britain stood at £162,435 pounds (195,040 euros, $251,517) in December, while prices were down 1.3 percent compared with November, the lender added.

Turning to the outlook, Halifax warned of potential downside "risks" for the property market this year.

"Looking forward, we expect limited movement in house prices during 2011 but with the risks on the downside," said the group's housing economist Martin Ellis.

"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.

"Current signs that homeowners are becoming more reluctant to sell would, if continued, help reverse the imbalance between buyers and sellers.

"Nonetheless, uncertainty about the economy, weak earnings growth and higher taxes could put some downward pressure on demand."

© 2011 AFP

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