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Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008
What will happen to the property market?

Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer are probably best known for helping potential buyers search out that ever-evasive dream home but that may seem nearly impossible in this current climate. Newsbeat caught up with the property duo, to find out how first-time buyers stand in today's market and what you can do if you are facing the threat of repossession.

Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp
Kirstie says there's been a lot of a lot of hysteria in the media

What's your new programme about?

Kirstie - Location Location, Location Survival Guide is 90 minutes of the usual stuff we have on the show - helping people to buy a home - but obviously at the moment it's very difficult because someone who has to buy is thinking: 'Is this the right time to buy? Is there anything suitable for me on the market? Is it going to be worth less in six months time?' So we're looking from the very specific perspective of the current financial climate.

Phil - It's been such an uncertain time, so people don't know whether to buy or sell or rent. It's a difficult time, so we wanted to bring a show out to help people make those decisions and give a bit of clarity on what was going on and why it was going on.

Kirstie - There's been a lot of rather hysterical reporting. If you listen to all that you hear and read all the newspapers, you would think that house prices had collapsed nationwide, we were down 50 per cent, it is possible to predict that house prices are going to be at zero in six months.

It's extraordinary, the things that are being said. We've looked at all the facts and figures and we've come to some very interesting conclusions.

Phil - The property market affects everyone. Even if you don't own a property, the chances are you'd like to own a property, so we're all being affected. We experience it day in, day out, and it changes day in, day out.

Kirstie - We have got the highest levels of owner-occupation that we've ever had in this country. So a lot of people have a real investment, genuinely, in the UK property market.
For sale signs
Kirstie and Phil agree that steady growth is needed in the market

Phil and I are very, very confident about the long-term health of UK property and that's something that isn't being spoken enough about.

It's always been the case that it's cyclical and what goes up must come down. We aren't looking at the property in this country being fundamentally altered for the rest of time.

The problem is, we're a small country, with an ever-increasing population and we don't build that much.

So first-time buyers have really been done-down in both ways recently, because prices went up and they couldn't buy. Now prices have come down again, they can't get the mortgage because of liquidity problems.

For first-time buyers, they're just holding their breath, hoping they will be able to get a mortgage and waiting to see the point at which prices get to their lowest. And then there will be an almighty rush to buy property at this point

I would love to see some kind of steady, level growth in the property market, so that people thought it was a safe place to put their money.

Phil - I think a steady growth would suit everyone. I don't think actually we'll get a steady growth because once someone says: 'OK everyone this is the time to do it' there will be an almighty scramble and prices will go through the roof and we'll have very low interest rates.

And then we're back to the boom-bust scenario, which doesn't suit anybody.

Kirstie - The people that worry me are the people who are being repossessed. That is the huge problem. Anyone who bought two years ago with a 95 or 100 per cent mortgage, who then loses their job and is forced to sell that property or it's repossessed.

They're going to be in a position where that doesn't wipe out their debt, they still have to repay the debt to the bank and find somewhere to live and find a new job. I think the impact of the recession on those people is going to be really frightening.

What advice would you give someone like one of our listeners whose house is now worth less than when he bought it and who has now split up with his girlfriend, so has to pay the mortgage alone, but wants to keep the house?

Phil - Rent the whole thing and try and cover the mortgage, or just rent the second bedroom.

Kirstie - I would say exactly what Phil says.

Get a lodger or if there's any possibility of becoming a lodger and renting out the entire house. Is there any way of downscaling his life on a temporary basis, just to be able to keep the house and not be in a position where he's repossessed?

Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer were talking to Newsbeat reporter Sarah Jane Griffiths.

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