According to the RICS May 2011 UK Housing Market Survey, economy fears and a distinct lack of mortgage finance have kept housing market activity levels at low levels.
There was hope that spring would see an increase in housing market activity levels but this failed to materialise, probably not helped at all by a long line of bank holidays throughout April with an extra one added at the beginning of May, just for good measure.
During May the average number of completed sales per surveyor fell to the lowest level since the beginning of the year, at just 14.7. There was an increase in the average number of stocks, per surveyor, to 71.3, up from 66 with more properties coming to market and staying there for a longer period.
While the housing market remains depressed, lenders will need to consider a change in their lending criteria for first time buyers in order to jump start an increasingly sluggish market.
Ian Perry, RICS Housing Spokesperson, commented:
“Buyer interest in purchasing property remains flat across much of the country and there is little sign of this changing any time soon. Uncertainty over the economic outlook remains as important as the availability of mortgage finance in depressing demand. On the other hand, the appetite to rent is continuing to grow. And, with little new supply coming onto the lettings market, the cost of renting is increasing and will continue to do so.”
It’s not all doom and gloom though, reports show that if a property is priced right it will sell. Many vendors, it appears, just need to lower their price expectations in line with current market conditions.
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