House prices will fall by a further 12% next year, according to Britain's longest-established property website, adding to the gloom for the nation's struggling homeowners., which was set up in 1995, yesterday became one of the few experts on the housing market to come up with a firm prediction for the extent of price falls next year.

It said that the market, already skewed favourably for buyers, would be dominated by bargain-hunters, including professional buy-to-let investors and first-time buyers. The website also predicted that the property rental market would remain buoyant. Although they will initially fall, rents will begin to go up again by the end of the year, it said.

In spite of its apparently bleak prognosis, based on net mortgage lending to finance purchases reaching £40 billion next year, insisted that the worst was over in terms of the level of home sales.

The Times, The Guardian