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House sales fall to lowest since 1978, says RICS

The average number of transactions per surveyor sold over the last three months is now at 15.3, the lowest figure since 1978, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

RICS says 88 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise in house prices, a decrease from 92.2 per cent in April.

It says the regional picture remains gloomy with surveyors in the West Midlands unanimous that house prices are falling.

Demand remains weak with the balance of surveyors reporting new buyer enquiries still well into negative territory.

But RICS says there has been an improvement in new buyer enquiries with 35 per cent of chartered surveyors reporting a fall in buyer enquiries compared to 50 per cent in May and 69 per cent in April.

RICS warns that ‘predatory buyers’ are entering the market looking to bargain for reductions in a falling market.

It says that there has not been large numbers of distress sales and the employment picture has not deteriorated to a degree where repossession levels have started to accelerate.

RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf says: “With demand so low, would-be-buyers are negotiating with a position of strength. Even in a weak market there are always opportunities for investors and buyers to profit and some are starting to circle for bargains.

“However, transaction levels remain incredibly low with many buyers cut out of the process by tight lending conditions.”


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