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Prices remain static as property stock declines

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  • 22/08/2003
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The housing market has stagnated. Figures from property website Rightmove.co.uk show prices in Augus...

The housing market has stagnated. Figures from property website Rightmove.co.uk show prices in August are the same as the month before, with the number of properties coming onto the market also slowing, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Rightmove said the flat market over the month, meant the year-on-year increase also continued to slow and was down to 12.4%. Since the start of the year the yearly rate of price increase has fallen from 26.5%. Regionally the outlook was not so flat, and falls included East Anglia (down 3.6%), and Greater London (down 1.4%). However, all areas north of the Trent saw rises, including the North (4.5%), and the North West (2.2%).

According to RICS, the number of properties coming on to the market is also down. In June it said 5% of its surveyors had reported a rise rather than a fall in the number of instructions they were receiving, but this had fallen to 2% in July. In July unsold stocks on surveyors’ books fell for the first time since November, leading to housing stocks being 4% lower than they were three months earlier.

Rightmove also found stocks to be dropping and said 22,000 more properties had come off the market in the last month than had come on.

Despite falling stock, buyers are coming back into the market according to RICS which said 11% more of their surveyors had reported a rise on buyer enquiries rather than a fall. Ian Perry, spokesman at RICS said: ‘The balance of power remains with the purchasers but the gap is growing.’

Perry added: ‘Earlier in the year many people were accepting up to 10% below the asking price for their properties. Our research seems to indicate that this situation is showing signs of change as buyers begin to come back into the market.’

Miles Shipside, commercial director at Rightmove, said: Supply shortages could start to emerge in the autumn which would have an inevitable upward influence on prices.’

However, Keith Hood, managing director for Warners Financial Services based in Wymondham, said he had not seen any swing back in favour of the seller and said: ‘Vendors are accepting offers they would not have done six months ago, with the effect of pulling prices down a bit.’

He said his biggest area of interest was increasingly the remortgage market, which accounted for 54% of business in July.


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