Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Monday, 29 December 2008

'Stagnation' hits property market

For sale sign
The mortgage squeeze has prevented some entering the market

One in five properties in some areas of the UK has been on the market for the whole of 2008, data suggests.

On average across the country, 5% of homes for sale have remained unsold since the beginning of the year, according to property website Globrix.

The picture of a stagnant market is most critical in the north of England.

Prices have been falling throughout the year and banks have been squeezing the availability of mortgages, notably to those unable to offer a large deposit.

'Market gridlock'

The group has listed the areas where sellers have had most difficulty shifting their properties.

Housing market stagnation
Rochdale: 26% of properties on the market throughout 2008
Aberystwyth: 23%
Swanage: 20%
Pontefract: 18%
Ripon: 15%

Rochdale in Lancashire topped the chart, with 26% of homes for sale remaining on the market for the whole of 2008, although this is from a relatively small stock.

Currently 204 homes have been on the market in the town throughout 2008.

Next were Aberystwyth (23%) and Swanage in Dorset (20%), with Manchester being the first major city on the list, ranked at ninth (13%) and with 1,098 homes on the market for the entire year.

Globrix suggested that this was the result of an "over-supply" of newly-built apartment blocks.

"The gridlock in the market has been a result of the banks' reluctance to lend and an unwillingness by sellers to lower their asking prices to more realistic levels," said chief executive Daniel Lee.

"If rates are cut further and mortgage products become more competitive and there are signs that this is happening then who knows?

"Property prices are now very tempting and I am sure many buyers, having delayed for so long, will be closer to making their move. The next few months could determine the shape of the next few years."

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