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Surveyors say price falls are spreading in the housing market

In yet another sign that the UK housing market is on the skids, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has said that the percentage of its members reporting house price falls is at its highest level since the early 1990s, when the property market was crashing.

Some 64.1 per cent more surveyors reported a fall than a rise in prices in February – up from 54.7 per cent in January. Prices are now down across the country, with the one exception of Scotland.

Just as concerning for sellers, mortgage lenders and house- builders reported that the number of new buyers enquiring about property was down again last month. Unsurprisingly, Rics members said that they had more unsold stock on their books than in the previous month.

Rics economist Ian Perry said the credit crunch and general economic uncertainty had caused the problems: "Many would-be-buyers are either struggling to raise the necessary finance or are exercising caution."

Longer term, though, he said the two recent interest rate cuts could help revive the market.

Meanwhile, Bovis, one of the UK's biggest housebuilders, said it was seeing far fewer buyers and that this could lead to future new-build projects being scrapped.