Further evidence that the UK housing market has hit the buffers was revealed today in a new survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The latest RICS UK Housing Market survey shows that 19% more chartered surveyors reported falling rather than rising house prices in April. Moreover, surveyors’ expectations for future prices reached their lowest level this year with a net balance of 17% more respondents expecting prices to fall further.
London was the only part of the UK to register higher house prices in April, while significant declines were recorded in the West Midlands and Wales.
In March there was a rush of house purchases before the end of the stamp duty holiday, but this momentum has not been sustained through April. Sales fell last month for the first time since September, as 6% more surveyors across the UK reported decreases rather than increases in transaction levels.
Despite this, expectations for transaction levels over the coming three months are still positive, with a net balance of 15% more respondents expecting sales to rise.
RICS found that demand from potential buyers was relatively flat during April, with 5% more surveyors reporting increases rather than decreases in new buyer enquiries, compared with 10% in March. New instructions remained stable as 1% more respondents reported falls rather than rises in new homes coming onto the market. The surveyors’ organisation noted that, although flat, the level of supply has not seen any significant decrease since July last year.
Commenting on the findings of the survey, RICS housing spokesman Peter Bolton King said that consumer confidence may have been undermined by renewed concerns over the economy, in addition to which the continuing lack of affordable mortgage finance is still preventing many first time buyers from getting on the property ladder.