Interest rate rises have perpetuated the housing market slowdown as home buying becomes more expensive. 48 per cent more chartered surveyors report a fall than a rise in prices for the three months to November, the biggest number reporting falls in 12 years.
The amount of unsold property on chartered surveyor estate agents’ books has risen for the sixth consecutive month, to the highest level recorded in over a year - averaging at 67 properties per surveyor in November. The three months to November saw an average of 22 sales per surveyor, down 32 per cent over the last year and at its lowest level since August 1995.
Surveyor confidence in a future sales recovery is undented, with surveyors at their most optimistic in almost a year. New purchase enquiries are still low, but after six months of falling, they are beginning to stabilise.
The most noticeable price drops are in the Southern regions and the Midlands. Price falls in London continue but are now less than the national average. Scotland is still seeing price rises but these are more moderate than recent months.
RICS housing spokesperson Ian Perry said: "The slowdown occurring in the market has given buyers more power to negotiate, but the time of year is traditionally a quiet one. The decision by the Bank of England not to increase interest rates further, and the healthy economy is allowing confidence to consolidate.
"Sales usually pick up in the New Year and I am confident that this year will be no exception."
RICS expects to see a rise of 3 per cent in UK house prices in 2005.