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RICS: house prices slipping

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by Gill Montia

Surveyors are feeling less optimistic about UK house prices, with more respondents to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) August survey expecting prices to fall, rather than rise, over the next three months.

However, RICS spokesman, Jeremy Leaf, points out that while prices in many parts of the country may be slipping, sales levels could begin to pick up as a result.

According to Mr Leaf: “Looking forward, our price indicators are telling a mixed story which is consistent with the uncertainty hanging over the economy, the low level of interest rates and the lack of new house building.”

Separately, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported yesterday that there were only 56,000 house purchase loans approved in July, as loans to first-time buyers declined to 19,400, down from 19,700 in June and from 20,100 in the same period of 2009.

The first-time buyer share of the market fell to 34%, its lowest level since the credit crisis began in August 2007.

The CML suggests that loan criteria have now “tightened a little”, having eased in the early part of the year, with the typical first-time putting down a deposit of 24% in July, up from 21% in April and May.

However, low interest rates mean that for those getting a foot on the property ladder, interest payments are at their most affordable since early 2004.

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News posted: September 14, 2010

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