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House prices drop for ninth month in row, says RICS

House prices have fallen for the ninth month in succession in April, according to RICS’ house price survey.

It says that 95.1 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise in house prices, an increase from 79.4 per cent in March.

RICS says the regional picture is even more depressed with surveyors in East Anglia, the North and North West unanimous that house prices are falling.

The net balance in Scotland turned negative where previously it was the only UK region where the majority of surveyors were reporting house price increases.

But RICS points out that the scale of house price falls remains relatively small at this stage compared to past downturns. The lack of new instructions to sell property continues to provide a crutch to the market.

It says large numbers of distress sales have not year appeared in the market place and, while mortgage arrears remain low and the employment situation remains strong, the lack of supply will continue to prevent large declines.

RICS says that demand continued to weaken as new buyers’ enquiries fell further. 68 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise in new buyer enquiries, up from 51 per cent in January.

As a result of this lack of supply, the average number of unsold stock on surveyors’ books edges down. The ratio of completed sales compared to the stock of unsold property on the market fell to 21.1 per cent, down from 24.6 per cent.

RICS says looking forward, the net balance of surveyors expecting prices to rise is at -80 per cent, compared to -74 per cent in March.

RICS spokesperson Ian Perry says: “Although most surveyors are now seeing price declines, the extent of the fall, is at this stage, quite modest. The real issue is the collapse in the number of housing transactions. This has very real implications, not just for the property industry but also the high street and the wider economy.”

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