House sales have dropped 40 per cent in the past five years

 

The housing market has become “stagnant” after activity has collapsed by two-fifths in the last five years, a report published today reveals.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said just over 15 completed sales were made per surveyor in the three months to May.

That’s a 40 per cent fall on the 25 sales made over the same period in 2007.

RICS blamed the conditions on “banks’ reluctance” to offer loans.

Peter Bolton King, of RICS said: “Ongoing economic instability in the UK and overseas has continued to undermine consumer confidence, and the reluctance of many banks to offer affordable mortgage products has created something of a stagnant market.”

Mark Harris, boss of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The number of transactions has slumped as wider economic uncertainty means buyers and sellers alike adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach.

“The difficulty in getting credit unless you have a substantial deposit, squeaky clean credit history and meet lenders' stringent requirements, means even those who do want to buy may struggle.”

RICS said part of the problem is that homes are now taking considerably longer to sell.

In the three months to May, estate agents sold less than a quarter of the homes on their books.

In March to May 2007 – when the market was at its peak – they shifted 40.9 per cent of homes.

There was gloomy news on prices too as sixteen per cent more surveyors reported falls rather than rises last month.

The general mood among surveyors across the country is downbeat.

Mark Hunter of Doncaster-based Grice & Hunter warned: “The current market is now likely to be the norm for the forseeable future.”

David McKillop of McKillop and Gregory in Salisbury said: “The outlook is not very happy.”

Some surveyors warned that sellers need to be more realistic in the prices they hoped to achieve for their homes.

Andrew Oulsnam of Robert Oulsnam in Birmingham said: “Vendors still have unrealistic expectations on price.”

“Managing expectations is key in the current market,” agreed Derek Coates of Venmores in Liverpool. “It is still the case that a realistically-priced property will find a buyer.”

Realistic lower prices may lead to a boost in sales, said Mr Bolton King.

“A gradual stability is returning to the market and surveyors expect transaction levels to increase over the coming months, even if prices continue to dip across most parts of the country.”

That positive process is likely to be helped by continued low interest rates, according to Mr Harris. “'The fact that interest rates are likely to remain low for some time will support the market to an extent.”

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

VIDEO
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players