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House prices show slow increase in December, says RICS

House prices in December rose at a slower pace than previous months due to the narrowing gap between supply and demand, a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey shows.

In its housing market survey for December, RICS says 30 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise then a fall in house prices, down from 35 per cent in November.

Surveyors in London and the south are still recording price increases, while more surveyors in the north and the west Midlands are seeing falls in house prices.

Seventeen per cent more surveyors reported a rise than a fall in new instructions compared to November, while 20 per cent more surveyors stated that enquiries from potential purchasers are rising rather than falling but enquiries rose at the slowest pace since January 2009.

Transaction levels were little changed in December. The number of sales per surveying firm is still hovering around 19 for the fourth consecutive month, while the closely watched sales to stock ratio, a measure of market slack and a lead indicator of future prices, fell back slightly.

RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf says: “New enquiries are continuing to outpace new instructions which is helping to push house prices higher. The recent loss of momentum in prices and the moderation in new buyer interest can be in part attributed to the housing market pulling down its shutters for Christmas.

“It is likely that the new year will see more interest and activity in the market as those who held back start to market their property with renewed optimism.”

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