February's Nationwide figures show house prices have fallen by 1% so is this the end of the house price rally we saw last year?.

We are probably witnessing the end of a very surprising recovery in house prices due to the compounding pressures like the end of stamp duty and rising levels of unemployment but neither of these inclusions are a patch on the impact of tightened lending practices by lenders.

The truth is lenders have actually returned to a more sensible lending model and some would argue that they need to tighten further to factor in increased risk in today's economic climate and there are signs that there could be extreme tightening on the horizon.

This will squeeze the mortgage market even further and prolong the already protracted period of time that first time buyers have been left out of the property market place.

Snow and the end of stamp duty will certainly have impacted the sales figures but this just goes to show the fragile nature of the housing market that has seen disproportionate growth in prices only in a declining economy.

Very few people can afford to buy a home and the majority of individuals or couples on the average wage are completely priced out of the property market because the deposits required are now higher than the total sum of a mortgage over a 20 year period but without the necessary wage inflation to allow such a deposit to be saved for.

In reality the housing market has been propped up by low interest rates and home protection policies by the government which, along with the Bank Of England, seem hell bent on protecting the home owner from negative equity but at what cost?

Savers have been worst hit with savings now entering the negative for the first time thanks to inflation out performing savings interest rates and first time buyers remain at home with Mum and Dad waiting for house prices to crash so they can afford to get onto a rung on the property ladder.

Overcrowding will come to bite the next government squarely on the backside so is it time for a house price crash? or are we going to continue to service the debt of those who bought at peak at the expense of the taxpayer, saver and first time buyer?

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