RICS December Housing Market Survey – Outlook remains mixed

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) December Housing Market Survey, released today, reports that although transaction levels are low they are showing some signs of stabilising with average sales per surveyor edging up in December.  They are, however, still well below their average.  Additionally, the average number of properties on surveyors’ books has increased by 1.8% but with both sales and stocks rising by similar amounts the sales to stock ratio remains broadly unchanged.
Key findings of the report are:
Completed house sale levels stabilised at the end of 2010
Average number of completed sales per surveyor was 15.2 (up from 14.8) with East Anglia recording the lowest level of transactions, just 10 per surveyor
Concerns over the economy remain a concern for some buyers
Surveyors’ expectations edged up with 8% expecting sales to increase, up from 6% in November
Lack of new instructions fell as would-be sellers held out until the New Year before putting properties on the market
New buyer enquiries have fallen for the seventh consecutive month with surveyors reporting that the biggest barrier to an improvement in the market is the current lending constraints
David Newnes, estate agency Managing Director of LSL property services, owners of Your Move and Reeds Rains said:
“The last months of 2010 saw a flattening of house prices and this looks set to continue through 2011. The public spending cuts, along with the possibility of rising interest rates are weighing on the minds of lenders, who have lent less money to fewer borrowers, which has caused a finance drought. Sellers know this and have been holding off bringing properties to the market, hoping for prices to rise later in the year. It largely depends on lenders, who are the gatekeepers of demand. If they are convinced that borrowers’ finances in the coming year will remain healthy, they are likely to increase the quantity and value of their loans and dispel the pessimism that the RICS surveyors seem to be feeling.”
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