Slowdown confirmed

Only 38 per cent of chartered surveyors reported price rises, compared with 49 per cent.

However, while the number of enquiries from prospective buyers dropped following 11 September, towards the end of the month surveyors began reporting signs that enquiries were increasing again.

The average number of house sales per surveyor remained the same at 34, and did not show any signs of being affected by international events. However, the average number of houses remaining on estate agent’s books rose by 4 per cent to 75, the highest level since October 2000.

Chartered surveyors expect to see further falls in sales in the coming months, with 57 per cent more expecting to see a fall against only 4 per cent last month, and 32 per cent this time last year. Nevertheless only 19 per cent more surveyors expecting to see house prices fall than rise.

Ian Perry, national housing spokesman for RICS, said: “In the coming months much will depend on the international situation and the global economy. We originally forecast a downturn for the housing market in the autumn because of the expected slowdown in the economy, coupled with recovery in the early part of 2002. We can now expect to see that recovery delayed until the spring or possibly the summer of next year. Continuing low interest rates have helped bolster the market, This has continued to make house purchase attractive to prospective buyers despite rising prices.”