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UK House Prices Could Stabilize this Year: RICS

The slump in the UK house prices could bottom out within the year as rising interest from new buyers leads to fresh sales, according to the April housing market report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

“New buyer enquiries have now increased for six months in a row … There is also more evidence that the higher level of buyer interest is feeding through into actual sales,” the report said.

The number of agreed sales rose over the month, while new instructions to sell property fell sharply, RICS said. Despite the tightening factors, estate agents still saw the number of properties on their books increase, as the trend of rising inventories remained in tact for now.

One of the reasons that new instructions fell sharply in April could be due to a change in the rules for Home Information Packs, which were introduced on April 5, RICS pointed out citing anecdotal evidence.

RICS’s seasonally adjusted net balance of surveyors reporting falling rather than rising prices showed a marked improvement in April. A reading of 59.9 shows that the UK housing market is still weakening, but it is the best reading since January 2008 and up sharply from the 72.1 reading in March.

Because the number of houses being shifted by estate agents outstripped the number being taken onto their books, the survey’s sales-to-stock ratio saw another monthly increase.

RICS said that the improving sales-to-stock ratio backs up the positive outlook for the market as it’s a key guide to future trends in price and has been rising for four straight months.

AP

UK interest rates have been slashed to 0.5 percent since the slump in property prices began and the economy has nosedived into a full-blown recession. Despite low interest rates, many potential homebuyers have struggled to find suitable mortgages as banks seek to tighten lending and shore up their balance sheets.

From a regional perspective, Yorkshire, Humberside and the North or England were seen to be lagging the rest of the UK, while London saw a significant improvement, RICS said.

Contact Europe: Economy

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