Letter: Back in step

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Jonathan Davis asserts that the divergent house price figures announced by the Halifax and Nationwide building societies indicate "everyone [is] out of step in the housing market" (Business Review, 28 April). May I humbly recommend that he read the current residential property market survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Whereas the building society reports are strictly concerned with statistics, our survey takes into account observations submitted by chartered surveyors throughout England and Wales. These explain apparent contradictions in the market place.

For example, while 13 per cent of our members in the North report a decrease in property prices, both country houses and cottages are selling for more than expected, the reason being that second homes are in demand in the Lake District.

Alternatively, the farming industry may be in the doldrums but that hasn't stopped almost 70 per cent of surveyors recording a price rise in the South-west.

By their very nature surveys complement raw data, bringing the mood of the market into sharper focus and identifying future trends.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG

Chief Executive

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

London SW1

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