News: Housing Market "At Standstill"

Tue, 12 Aug 08

The number of people buying homes is at its lowest level for 30 years, according to latest figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

During July there were just 14.4 completed sales per surveyor on average, the lowest since RICS began its survey in 1978 and down 0.9% on June’s figure.

RICS says that confusion over stamp duty and the continued squeeze on finances in the mortgage sector are the main factors.

Ian Perry, a spokesman for RICS, said: “The lack of mortgage finance has brought the housing market to a virtual standstill with first-time buyers rapidly becoming an endangered species.”

However there is evidence though that the decline in prices is easing, albeit slightly.

During July there were 83.9% more surveyors reporting a fall rather than a rise in house prices, compared with 86.9% in June.

Perry added that this percentage is still high and that continued falling prices should see more sales in the coming months.

Regionally surveyors in Yorkshire and Humberside and other regions in the north of England were among the most likely to believe prices will fall over the next three months rather than rise. 

Those in London, the south-east and the south-west of England, were less certain, with many still hopeful of a rise.

See Also – Asking Price Index

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