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Record numbers of chartered surveyors report house price fall

A record number of chartered surveyors have reported a fall in house prices with little expectation that demand will improve, according to the latest RICS survey for March.

The RICS house price balance reached record lows after dropping for the eight month in succession as 78.5 per cent of those polled reported a fall in prices, up from 65.7 per cent in February.

This marks the lowest figure since the survey began in 1978.

The survey shows that the regional picture is even more depressed with chartered surveyors in the East Midlands and East Anglia reporting falls of 89 and 86 per cent respectively.

Scotland was the only area where a rise – 4 per cent was reported.

Almost half of all chartered surveyors also reported a fall in new buyer enquiries with the report stating this is unlikely to improve in the near future as the official interest rate cuts are not being passed on to the high street.

Meanwhile, surveyors also reported a further fall in requests to sell property with the ratio of completed sales compared to the stock of unsold property on the market falling to 24.8 per cent, the lowest figure since September 1996.

The net balance of surveyors expecting house prices to rise is also at an all time low of -73 per cent.

RICS spokesmen Jeremy Leaf says: “”Sentiment is at a very low ebb and will continue to remain depressed while the economy suffers from this unique liquidity blight.

“The slowdown in prices is directly attributable to a lack of available finance which has hit demand. However, until new supply increases dramatically a significant crash remains unlikely. The next six months will be a crucial period for homeowners.

“But would-be buyers with larger deposits may see this market as an opportunity to acquire property in areas to which they could not previously aspire as recently as the end of 2007.”

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