Struggling house prices add to gloom over economy

 

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The Independent Online

House prices in Britain slipped further in July as potential buyers struggled to secure mortgage financing.

This was compounded by homeowners revealing they were unwilling to put their properties on the market because of the slump in valuations.

The latest UK Housing Market Survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Accountants (RICS), published today, reveals that 22 per cent more chartered surveyors reported falling house prices than reported a rise in prices.

This was an improvement from the 26 per cent figure reported in June, but it means the reading has remained in negative territory for more than a year. The average number of sales over the past three months also fell to 14.2, the lowest for more than two years.

A spokesman for the RICS said: "The UK housing market continued to stall during July; prices edged lower and sales levels remained subdued. While the holiday season appears to have had some impact on the market, the continual problem of inaccessible mortgage finance is still preventing first-time buyers accessing the market."

About 7 per cent more surveyorsreported falls in new houses coming to the market. The report said: "With prices continuing to slip, it appears that many potential vendors are unwilling to accept reduced selling prices, so are reluctant to enter the market."

There was pessimism that house prices would continue to sink, with 13 per cent more predicting falls than those predicting rises. Yet, there were some signs of life as demand edged up. Interest from potential buyers had been relatively flat since the start of the year, but in July new enquiries rose from nothing to 5 per cent. London remains the only region to see house prices rise from 30 per cent more surveyors. The worst readings came in the West Midlands and the east of England.

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