RICS warns against premature optimism on house prices

RICS warns against premature optimism on house prices

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned that it would be ‘premature’ to assume that house prices are on the road to recovery after figures from the Halifax house price index showed an average house price decrease of 1.9% during the month of March.

Halifax’s figure countered statistics released by Nationwide, whose house price data revealed an average increase of 0.9% in property values during March.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The HBOS data demonstrates that it would be premature to assume that house prices have yet bottomed out despite the more positive figures published by Nationwide.”

He added, however, that RICS is ‘confident’ of an increase in the number of house sales, and of more interest from buyers.

“A greater level of buyer interest will be underpinned by the drop in both interest rates and house prices,” Rubinsohn said.

RICS also warned that the government should not use the data published by Nationwide as an excuse to reduce or even end its efforts to make the housing market more accessible.

First time buyers need particular help getting on the property ladder, RICS said, to ensure that the current pressure on social housing does not reach boiling point.

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