RICS Report Says Buyers Can Call The Shots
Another slide in house prices means a continued buyers' market, says RICS' latest report...
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors housing report, out today, shows there was a fall in house prices in March with 37 per cent of surveyors noting a dip compared to 34 per cent the previous month.
RICS says that property sales for March have been affected by an early Easter and fears of another rise in interest rates. Continued uncertainty also affected new purchase enquiries which stayed stagnant, as did newly agreed sales. Surveyors believed that some sellers have unrealistically priced properties which is also affecting sales activity.
Household Confidence UpWith restrained market conditions, surveyors are envisaging further falls in house prices but they remain optimistic that sales will increase, as the underlying economy and job prospects are still strong. RICS reported that household confidence levels in the early months of 2005 were at their highest in more than six years.
Prices remain weak across much of the UK, the reports says, having fallen in the Midlands, Southern England and, more moderately, in the Northern regions. In London, prices have been stable, and there are still strong increases in Scotland.
The number of properties on surveyors' books was also slightly down in March, from 73 per surveyor compared to 76 in February, but are still up 26 per cent for the past year.
"Sellers Must Be More Realistic"RICS national housing market spokesman, Jeremy Leaf, comments: "While there are no signs of a collapse, housing market activity showed little change in March, but we expect good job prospects and stable interest rates to lead to improved sales as the year progresses.
"Getting on to the property ladder is currently easier for first-time buyers as buyers increasingly call the shots. Sellers must be more realistic if they want to secure a sale."
What The Surveyors Said:
Epsom, Surrey"Very quiet Easter period and no recovery since. We are now suffering from a shortgage of new instructions and valuation levels have fallen.
"Vendors seem happy to wait and see, while buyers become increasingly disillusioned. Prices are steady - What are they waiting for?"Mark Everett Esq. BSc FRICS, Hove, East Sussex"Constant flow of applicants, a lot of viewings but a low percentage converted to acceptable offers."Geoffrey Holden Esq. FRICS ,
Battersea, London"After a positive start to the year, the market seemed to slow down in terms of sales agreed, enquiries and instructions.
"However, this has reversed in the last two weeks, which have been much busier. More confidence seems to be returning to the market."Tim Le Blanc-Smith Esq. MRICS, Belgravia, London"Vendors are not selling as they are not confident of finding a suitable replacement property. Many are loathed to sell for less or the same amount if they have bought in the last few years.
"There is a shortage of property, and sadly some agents are overvaluing to try and obtain dwindling market share. Purchasers are prepared to wait until there is a greater choice."Tim Le Blanc-Smith Esq. MRICS,