Unrealistic house prices hamper market
Although more new houses were put up for sale in December, transactions were hampered by sellers asking too high a price for their properties, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
December saw the number of houses put up for sale increase for the third month in a row, especially in London where new instructions reached their highest level since January 2005.
There was also a slight increase in new buyer inquiries but in view of the unrealistically high prices, surveyors’ sales expectations declined in comparison with November and are now flat.
RICS housing spokesman Ian Perry said: “The increasing number of prospective sellers who placed their homes on the market in December is a positive development, as a lack of stock has been a big issue in some parts of the country.
“But with sales expectations remaining flat, it is important that vendors are realistic in their pricing if they wish the sale to go through in good time.”
The recent fall in property prices continued in December, but it slowed to its lowest level since June 2010.
London was the only area where property prices increased.
A lack of mortgage finance is still holding back the market, with many prospective first time buyers unable to raise the high deposits needed to take their first step on the property ladder.
However, house-builder Persimmon reported a more positive outlook for the first-time buyer market.
The company said it expects its 2011 profits to rise by half and the improvement is expected to continue into 2012, helped by an increase in first time buyer interest.
“Whilst the general economic backdrop to the U.K. housing market remains challenging, we have experienced encouraging levels of visitors, resilient sales reservations, low cancellation rates and stable prices,” Persimmon said in the statement.