House prices have been falling at their fastest rate since February 2009 in London, amid expectations that the rest of the UK housing market will hold steady in the next year, an industry survey has found.
Residential industry experts expect little change to the UK housing market overall this year, despite softness at the top end, particularly in London.
Across the UK, the biggest number of houses that sold below their asking price in April were in the highest price bracket. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that 69pc of respondents to its UK Residential Market Survey reported that houses with a price tag of more than £1m were being sold for less than hoped. This was an uptick from the 66pc reported in January this year and comes as a range of data suggests that cracks may be appearing in the housing market.
Signs of a softer market were spreading to lower-priced properties too. The proportion of respondents saying that houses valued between £500,000 and £1m had sold for less than the asking price rose to 74pc in April from 56pc in January.
By contrast the cheaper end of the market was holding firm. Properties on offer for £500,000 or less were either selling at their advertised level or above, according to 59pc of respondents.
Different regions were seeing contrasting rates of house price inflation.
For the first time since May 2013, price falls were reported in the South East, and South West, while there were rises in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Aside from London, almost all parts of the UK are expected to see higher prices in a year’s time. Professionals reported “comfortably positive” predictions for prices in the next twelve months.
The amount of activity in the housing market seemed to show signs stabilising after four months of decline. New buyer enquiries were largely unchanged in April. However, the number of instructions to sell properties continued to fall, although this decline was the least sharp since September.
Simon Rubinsohn of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said that, allowing for seasonal variation, the “underlying trend in transactions remains broadly flat.”
Source: The Telegraph