Confidence in the UK housing market among surveyors has fallen to its lowest level since records began in 1978, according to the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The news comes as Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling meet with mortgage lenders to discuss solutions to the current liquidity crisis.
The survey of surveyors found 78.5% more reported a fall in prices than reported a rise during March, the lowest level in the survey’s 30-year history.
Only Scotland saw a reported rise in prices, with 4% more surveyors reporting a rise than a fall, down from 10% in February.
The East Midlands is suffering the most from the crisis, with 89% more surveyors reporting a price fall than a rise.
Surveyors blamed a fall in new buyer enquiries as a major cause of the fall, with 49% more surveyors reporting a fall, as would-be buyers struggle to access finance or exhibit caution in the current economic climate.
Jeremy Leaf, spokesman for RICS, comments: "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.”
RICS says the current market presents a good opportunity for first time buyers with large deposits as they can still access good deals and will benefit from the downturn in prices.
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