The September RICS Housing Market Survey continued to show more surveyors reporting falling rather than rising prices, with the headline price net balance suffering the third consecutive monthly fall. That said, half of all respondents to the survey indicated that prices have been broadly stable over the last three months.
The latest drop in prices reflects the high level of new instructions coming to the market at a time when buyer enquiries have been slipping. Numbers of new instructions picked up in September, while new buyer enquiries dropped off considerably. The average sales per surveyor remained constant during the month. Meanwhile, the average number of properties on surveyors’ books recorded a 1.9% rise, negating last month’s similar fall. As a result of the rise in stocks per surveyor, the sales to stock ratio edged down from 24.7% to 24.2%. Sales expectations in September were still positive although a little less than in August. Looking at the regional picture, Scotland continues to buck the trend as the only region with more surveyors reporting rising rather than falling prices.
Within England, the East Midlands recorded the lowest price net balance. In Northern Ireland, prices continue to fall at a sharp pace.
Commenting on the September figures, Derek Coates at Venmore in Liverpool said: “Government austerity measures coupled with fears of unemployment and a genuine fear that house prices may well fall further is stifling the market. Much more must be done to free up lending for those who have to move for various reasons.”