Estate agents predict house price rebound

Estate agents in Sweden believe that the dip in house prices will be brief. The market is expected to rebound already in the first quarter, a new survey shows.

Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö are forecast to experience the strongest rebound in prices, estate agents believe.

The market weakened faster than expected in the fourth quarter 2007 according to new figures compiled by SBAB. The falling prices represent the most negative trend since the estate agent barometer began in 2005.

Bidding activity eased off dramatically and the time taken to close sales increased; two clear indications of a cooling off in the housing market.

31 percent of estate agents surveyed forecast rising apartment prices in the first quarter while 28 percent forecast an increase in the price of houses. Most estate agents with a positive outlook forecast however that gains will be modest.

The difference between offer price and sales price is expected to begin increasing again and sales will be concluded faster as buyers return.

The survey by Statistics Sweden (SCB) interviewed 200 estate agents in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö and was commissioned by mortgage lender SBAB.