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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 April, 2003, 07:31 GMT 08:31 UK
House prices 'set to double'
For Sale signs
The market will be slow for months
House prices will more than double during the next two decades, according to a report to be published later this month.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) study says homeowners are assured a substantial second income from the value of their properties.

The housing market would slow "appreciably" in the next few months, managing director Mark Pragnell said.

"But because we fail to build houses fast enough to meet rising demand, we can expect a return to relatively high rates of house price inflation when consumers' confidence and the economy picks up again."

It makes every sense for homeowners to make best use of their valuable asset
Mark Pragnell

House prices are falling in some areas, including London and the south-east of England.

The CEBR said the average homeowner today has an outstanding mortgage of 55,000 on a property worth 114,500, meaning their mortgage is worth around 48% of their property's value.

But by 2020, the average home will have risen in value to 279,900 and the average outstanding mortgage will have increased much more slowly to only 99,000 or 35% of the property's value.

Year's salary

So the average homeowner will be able to receive an annual income of about 7% of average earnings - or a lump sum equivalent to a year's wages - simply by remortgaging, the report suggested.

CEBR said this meant the average homeowner could unlock 35,000 from their home, the equivalent of a year's average earnings in 2020, and still have an outstanding mortgage of less than 48% of their home's value.

Mr Pragnell said: "It makes every sense for homeowners to make best use of their valuable asset through remortgaging and other financial products that allow them to unlock their wealth."

The BBC's Hywel Jones
"For now, the reality is a weakening housing market and falling prices"

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