Housing market slowing, say surveyors

The brakes are still being applied to the housing market in Norfolk, with latest figures showing it is declining at the fastest pace in almost two years.

The brakes are still being applied to the housing market in Norfolk, with latest figures showing it is declining at the fastest pace in almost two years.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors' (Rics) house price balance dipped at a rate last seen in July 2005 but limited supply is still propping up the market.

The UK market housing survey, published today, reports that house prices fell back for the third month in succession.

Surveyors in East Anglia reported the largest price falls followed by the West Midlands, the South West and East Midlands and Wales. London was the only area where surveyors did not report a fall.

Seventeen per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise in new instructions to sell property.

Those on the property ladder remain under little pressure to sell while the economy remains fundamentally sound.

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Andrew Wagstaff, Rics residential spokesman for north Norfolk said: “Activity levels across all areas of Norfolk are down significantly and are likely to remain so to the end of this year.

“A number of sales are being agreed where vendors are prepared to take a sensible view on price. Where this is not the case then vendors must realise that a sale will not be forthcoming.”

Interest rate rises, the recent credit crunch and the subsequent tightening of lending have all had an impact on demand.

New buyer inquiries declined for the eleventh successive month, with 41pc more chartered surveyors reporting a fall than a rise. Weak demand has pushed the stock of unsold property up at the highest pace since May 2003.

Surveyor confidence in house prices reached the lowest level since April 2003. Recent market conditions are still having a depressing effect on market sentiment.

Rics spokesman Ian Perry said: “The housing market is seeing the awaited slowdown that many had been expecting, with modest falls reported across most UK regions. A decline in transactions may be in the offing as stalemate returns to the market, although a material fall in prices would require a weaker labour market prompting forced sales.

“Credit market turmoil has yet to put downward pressure on prices in the capital although prices have now stabilised even here. Significantly, London is the only region where new instructions have risen over the last two months indicating that more leveraged buyers at the margins may already be feeling the credit squeeze.”

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