RICS survey reveals further house price drop

Amanda Jarvis

November 16, 2004

The survey shows 41 percent more chartered surveyors are reporting price falls than rises, 12 percent more than September and the highest number reporting a fall since December 1992.

Lack of new buyers has contributed to this large fall-off in activity, with the number of sales down 25% over the past year, their lowest level in nine years, and new enquires fell for the sixth consecutive month. The pace of decline has slowed though, reflecting a cautious optimism that interest rates have peaked.

Despite continued speculation over further falls, there is little evidence of panic selling. There are also encouraging signals from London where surveyors are reporting a levelling off in prices. Traditionally this market is a reliable indicator for emerging national trends and may be an early signal that declines are coming to an end.

Despite the continued price decline in England and Wales, Scotland is still enjoying price rises, though these too are slowing. Prices in Wales and northern England have shown modest falls while southern England is most effected by declines.

RICS housing spokesperson Jeremy Leaf says: ‘Buyers are still nervous which is not surprising given the quick fire interest rate rises over the summer. This is clearly reflected in the current strength of the lettings market. Sellers are accepting valuers’ estimates more readily, and negotiations before a sale is agreed are harder.

‘Despite the gloom, the professionals on the ground believe that confidence will not deteriorate further over the coming months as the underlying factors, jobs and the wider economy, remain stable.’

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