House prices stagnate

House prices are stagnating despite a shortage of properties entering the market, according to a survey released today.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported that the housing market was stabilising after a series of falls since February.

The survey revealed that the price falls, which have been led by London and the Southeast, are turning around as signs of a recovery appear in these areas. The survey of estate agents and surveyors reported that prices in the South have continued to fall, but the pace of decline, especially in London, has slowed.

RICS highlighted that the number of properties coming onto the market have stagnated as fears increase about a possible crash. However, estate agents reported the highest levels of new buyer enquires since September, and RICS maintanis that the likelihood of a crash is subsiding as more people compete for a limited number of properties.

RICS housing spokesman Ian Perry commented, ‘The balance of power remains with the purchasers but the gap is narrowing.

‘Earlier in the year, many people were accepting up to 10% below the asking price for their properties. Our research seems to indicate that this situation is showing signs of change as buyers begin to come back into the market.’

The survey found that 2% more surveyors reported a rise in new instructions than a fall during July, which is down from the 5% that reported back in June.

The number of properties on estate agents books that were unsold were also 4% lower than three months earlier. This was the first fall recorded in stock levels since November.

The housing market in the North and Wales continues to show price increases, with the strongest pace of growth being recorded in Yorkshire & Humberside. RICS reported that prices in East Anglia, London and the Southwest have stopped sliding and stabilised.