The RICS Housing Market Survey for April was released this week. Activity levels flattened and prices expectations declined as the optimistic outlook from Quarter 1 started to fade.
19% more Chartered Surveyors reported price falls than rises. Expectations that prices would rise in the next three months dropped from a net balance of-3% to -17%. The number of surveyors reporting increases in new buyer enquiries was 5%, down from 10% in March. The number of new instructions was stable at 1%.
Following the figures in March showing an upturn in activity, with the expiry of the stamp duty holiday, transaction levels in April were negative. This is the first time since September that transaction levels were negative, with 6% of respondents reporting decreases rather than increases in transaction levels.
London is continuing to outperform the rest of the country, being the only area to see prices rise. Even here, price rises were reported at the slowest rate since mid 2011. The West Midlands and Wales saw the most significant declines with net balance readings of -43% and -39%.
Whilst surveyors expected that there will be price falls in the next three months, they were more optimistic about the number of transactions, which had a net balance of 15% more expecting the number of sales to rise over the next quarter.
Peter Bolton King, RICS housing spokesman commented:
“With the recent surge in activity brought on by March’s stamp duty holiday coming to an end, it is unsurprising to see that prices across much of the country are continuing to fall.”
“Renewed concerns over the economy and talk of a double dip recession dominating the headlines in recent weeks may well have served to undermine consumer confidence. What’s more, the continuing lack of affordable mortgage finance is still hindering many first time buyers who cannot afford to get a foot on the property ladder.”
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