As almost everyone will agree the UK (if not global) property market is just about frozen solid.

There are prospective buyers and sellers in abundance but price agreement and access to finance are the big hurdles.

There are no shortages of ideas from forcing banks to lend, forcing a property price crash and the use of such things as property lease options.

Another idea is that put forward by Property Match.

This is the concept of selling houses using a 'set-price selling' policy.

The aim of this is to ensure that agents do not inflate the asking price of a house in the hope of gaining the instruction but in the process leaving the sale to gather dust as no buyers front up.

The concept is that the estate agent would be compelled to buy the house themselves if it remained unsold for say a three month period if the seller so decided. The seller would therefore have a default buyer by means of an option on the books the moment the agent took it on for marketing.

In that way it would be in agents' direct interest to price and market the property properly or end up buying a succession of lemons.

Although it sounds attractive the proposal does not seem to address the case of an agent being set up by a buyer when the agent is unaware for example that a railway line is to be extended nearby. That is, the sort of thing that would be 'discovered' by a solicitor's search. It would require every agent to get their own searches done prior to taking the property on, or perhaps take out some form of expensive indemnity insurance. Not a thing that agents or the person who would eventually pay the bill, the seller, would want one suspects. Conveyancing solicitors would be very content of course. And all that sounds almost like a return to home information packs.

This would also of course lead to a sudden and almost catastrophic drop in prices that would many houses with mortgages unshiftable.

A worthy idea but one that needs a little more thought and it would have to wait until a stable market was established.

House prices do need to come down but a more controlled decline in prices is preferable to most people than a sudden plummet. As we have said before there are other ways such as the more widespread use of property lease options (renting with the cast-iron option to buy) that will help unfreeze the housing market.

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