House prices fall country wide
The latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows a marked increase in the number of number estate agents reporting a fall, rather than a rise, in house prices.
In April, 95.1% more surveyors saw house prices fall than rise. This compares with 79.4% reporting a fall in March and represents the highest level of RICS members reporting a fall since the survey began, in 1978.
In East Anglia, the North and North West, surveyors were unanimous that house prices are falling.
Until last month, Scotland had bucked the downward trend however, the fall/rise ratio for the region has now turned negative.
The number of properties on estate agents’ books fell slightly in April, with the average ratio of completed sales to unsold stock declining to 21.1%, from 24.6% in March.
New buyer enquiries were also down in April, with 68% more surveyors reporting a fall rather than a rise, compared with 51% reporting a fall in January.
According to RICS spokesman, Ian Perry, the scale of price falls is still small when compared to previous downturns in the UK property market.
However, last month completed sales fell for the twelfth consecutive month to 18.3 per surveyor, from 22.2 in March, and Mr Perry points out that the collapse in the number of housing transactions has implications for the wider economy.
At the same time, he is optimistic that an outright property price crash will be avoided because so far there is no evidence of large numbers of distress sales, such as repossessions, and mortgage arrears remain low.
In addition high employment levels and a tight supply of properties coming onto the market should prevent large price declines.