House sales and prices slip again in January

| February 10, 2009 | 0 Comments
House sales and prices slip again in January

The latest report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) shows UK house sales continuing to fall in January despite a rise in buyer interest.

The average number of sales per estate agency declined to 9.9 compared with 10 a month earlier, establishing another record low for the survey since it began in 1978.

However, 10% more estate agents said they expected sales volumes to increase in the months ahead, than those who expected a continuation of the slowdown.

Despite the shortage of mortgage funds and a lack of confidence in the market, Rics is optimistic that last week’s cut in the base rate to 1% could provide the incentive prospective purchasers need.

The body’s spokesman, Jeremy Leaf, is also hopeful that recent government measures to encourage mortgage lending will have a positive impact.

Turning to house prices, the Rics survey found that 76.3% more members reported price falls, than rises, in January.

The result, which compares with 73.9% more surveyors reporting falling prices during December, contradicts Halifax’s latest monthly house price index.

Last week the lender reported that the average UK home rose in value by 1.9% in January, although Halifax has pointed out that even in a severe market downturn, prices do not necessarily fall every month.

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