19/12/2001

Winter blues hit South East housing

According to a report issued by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), house prices in London and southeast England remain volatile as the market continues to fall, while prices in the north show a steady rise.

In the south East the difference between chartered surveyors reporting a fall in prices against those reporting a rise was 37 per cent, up from 28 per cent last month. In London 56 per cent more chartered surveyors reported falls against those reporting rises. Last month the figure was 53 per cent.

RICS National Housing Spokesman, Ian Perry, said: “The market slowdown in the south east reflects the fact that the rate of rises earlier this year were unsustainable and buyers have become increasingly reluctant to pay the asking prices. This clearly shows that, at the moment, sellers have to price realistically to achieve sales. But chartered surveyors are confident that the overall market will continue to be positive in the coming year.”

Nationally, the picture was one of a steady market with two per cent more surveyors reporting a rise than a fall, slightly down from five per cent last month. Many chartered surveyors are also reporting that buyer enquiries are beginning to pick up, giving increased confidence for future months.

The average number of sales per chartered surveyor estate agent remained steady at 37, up one from last month, while the average number of houses on the books rose by two, to 75. This was up six per cent on the same period last year.

The sales to stocks ratio was steady, and remains close to its historical high. (CD)

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