Britain’s housing market was hit by a fresh blow yesterday when it emerged that home sales plunged to a new low last month and the Nationwide Building Society said that its net mortgage lending had fallen by 70 per cent
during the past six months. The latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed that estate agents in England and Wales had sold an average of only 10.9 properties per firm in the 12 weeks to the beginning of November, with agents in London struggling to sell one house a fortnight. That is the lowest level of sales since the series began in 1978. Nationwide, Britain’s biggest building society, gave warning that, while its market share was slipping, the entire mortgage lending market would fall by 80 per cent this year. Net new mortgage lending by Nationwide fell from �£3.6 billion to �£1 billion in the six months to September. Its share of the mortgage market slipped from 6.2 per cent to 5.6per cent.