House prices across the country are falling at their fastest rate since 1992, according to the latest report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).
The Rics housing market survey May 2005 claims the number of chartered surveyors reporting a decline in house prices is at its highest since November 1992 with 49% of respondents reporting falls in May.
The upturn in buyer activity at the beginning of the year has petered out against the backdrop of a slowing economy even though the jobs market remains secure, say Rics.
The report comes hot on the heels of figures from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) released yesterday, confirming its view that house prices are in decline. The ODPM says the average house price dropped to £181,832 in April, down from £183,346 in March.
Rics says new buyer enquiries slipped after remaining stable over past months and that completed sales for May were down 29% from last year.
Despite slipping sales figures Rics claimss surveyors expect an improvement in sales activity with interest rates near, if not at, their peak and possibly set to fall. Confidence, as a result, is at its highest level since last November it says.
One benefit of a slack housing market is that lettings market activity remains firm as many consumers rent rather than buy, waiting to see where the housing market will stabilise before making a decision on whether to buy or not.
Across the county only Scotland is still seeing house price increases. The most noticeable price falls have been in the Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside, with the pace of falls also increasing in London.
According to Rics housing spokesman Jeremy Leaf, buyers can afford to bide their time as available property has risen by a quarter in the past year. “Sellers must adapt their behaviour to account for the fact that boom conditions of recent years have come to an end, “he adds.
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