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Friday 19th of December 2008
December 9, 2008

Bargain hunters look at property market


by Gill Montia
Buyer inquiries increase as bargain hunters survey the market

Prospective purchasers returned to the housing market in November, with the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) reporting that 14% more surveyors recorded a rise in buyer inquiries, than a fall.

The Rics attributes the shift to a surge in bargain hunters as prices continue to fall and repossessions rise; the sharpest increases were seen in the South West and the West Midlands.

Buyer interest had been declining for two years but the turnaround does not extend as far as house sales, which plummeted to a record low in the three months to the end of November.

In England and Wales, estate agents sold an average 10.6 houses per branch, the lowest average since records began in 1978.

The figure compares with 10.9 in the three months to the end of October and 11.5 over the three months to the end of September.

In terms of house price falls, 76.5% more Rics members reported a fall in prices in November than a rise (compared with 81% reporting a fall in October).

Meanwhile, Halifax has announced a further 2.6% slide in the average price of a UK home, taking the annual rate of decline to 14.9% in November, and Jones Lang LaSalle has produced the latest predictions for 2009 and beyond.

The real estate firm is expecting UK house prices to see a peak-to-trough fall of around 29%, with recovery during 2011 and annual price growth reaching 8% to 9% during 2012 / 2013.

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