A poll of forecasters by Reuters shows a consensus that next year will see a slowdown in housing construction and prices but are still fearful of a market crash.

Most of the 23 forecasters polled believe that house prices are higher than they should be. Nine say there is a higher risk of a crash than a year ago, the same number say the risk is the same, while 5 say it is lower.

The analysts expect a price rise of 5.2 per cent in 2014, slowing to 2 per cent in 2015 and 2016; roughly in line with inflation.

Housing starts are predicted to reduce to 181,000 in Q4 2015 compared to 190,000 in the last three months of this year.

The household debt-to-income ratio is a concern for around half of the forecasters.

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