Dow Jones - (About house prices) The second half of the year has seen a major reversal in confidence on the back of higher interest rates and concerns over the outlook for the financial markets. The greatest turnaround in market conditions has been seen in southern England where the market is slowing off a high base. Many would-be buyers have stepped back from the market and the greatest short-term casualty has been lower levels of market activity with sales volumes down by 18% over the last six months.