Buyer enquiries increase but house prices continue to decline

| March 11, 2009 | 0 Comments
Buyer enquiries increase but house prices continue to decline

In its latest survey or members, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) found that in February, new buyer enquiries increase at their fastest pace since August 2006.

The Rics attributes the rise to sharp cuts in interest rates and falling house prices, both of which have improved affordability.

However, the ratio of Rics members reporting falling rather than rising prices stood at 78.3, a slight deterioration on January’s ratio of 76.6 reporting a fall.

While new buyer enquiries increased for the fourth consecutive month, newly agreed sales and completed sales fell back marginally in February.

Sales averaged 9.5 per estate agency in the three months to the end of February, down from 9.8 in the previous quarter.

The number of unsold properties on estate agents’ books fell from an average 75.3 in January to 69.5 in February, putting unsold stock levels 23.4% down on a year ago.

Nevertheless, the sales-to-stock ratio is still close to December’s all time low of 12.9%.

In February, new instructions declined for the second consecutive month although not as sharply as in January.

The decline reflects a rise in frustrated vendors who have chosen to let their properties.

Finally confidence in the price outlook improved slightly but the Rics cautions that “it is still extremely negative”.

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