House sales fall to 30-year low

| September 9, 2008 | 0 Comments
House sales fall to 30-year low

House sales are at their lowest for 30 years.

Latest figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) show that in the three months to the end of August estate agents sold an average 14.4 homes, or 1.1 properties per week.

The level of transactions is 47% below August 2007 and compares with average sales of 23.9 properties per three months at the beginning of the year.

Rics spokesperson, Jeremy Leaf, blamed the continued slowdown on a shortage of mortgage funds, adding that the Government’s decision to temporarily raise the stamp duty threshold would not be enough to kick start transactions.

The housing market survey also reported that the number of estate agents seeing a rise in new instructions was slightly above the number reporting a fall.

In addition, there was a slight increase in the number of Rics members reporting a rise rather than a fall in house prices.

However, all regions of the UK saw a fall in the number of new enquiries from potential new buyers.

The pace of the decline in new enquiries sharpened in August, compared to July, indicating that the market may stagnate further in the months to come.

While the mortgage market has shown signs of increased competition in recent weeks, with rates on some lenders’ most popular loans cut, the best deals are only available to those with large deposits.

Added to which, confidence in the market continues to weaken; earlier this week, the chief executives of HBOS and Nationwide reported that they expect no signs of recovery in the market until 2010.

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