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12 April 2011

RICS: housing market recovery “some way off”

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by Gill Montia

RICS: housing market recovery

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has declared that the UK housing market remained flat during March, although with regional divergences widening.

Overall, there was a slight downturn in demand for property compared with February but surveyors in areas such as Scotland, Wales and the South East reported a steady increase in new-buyer enquiries.

Not so for large parts of the Midlands and the North of England, where buyer interest dropped “considerably”.

Meanwhile, new instructions remained steady as newly agreed sales registered a flat reading nationally.

Transaction levels were most positive in the South West and Wales, while the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside produced “particularly negative” readings.

Nationally, 23% more chartered surveyors reported a fall rather than a rise in property prices; however, the majority of respondents recording price falls did so in the 0-2% price range.

London was the only area of the country to report a rise in prices.

Looking ahead, the RICS says price expectations for the next three months remain downbeat.

At the same time, more surveyors expect sales to increase rather than decrease, suggesting that there is some hope that activity may pick up.

RICS housing spokesperson, Ian Perry, comments: “With the prospect of forthcoming interest rate rises and continued shortage of mortgage funding, it seems that overall recovery for the national housing market is still some way off.”

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