Rics: Housing transactions hit all time low

15-07-2008

Rics: Housing transactions hit all time low
Housing transaction levels hit an all time low during June, according to the latest figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Each surveyor recorded an average of just 15.3 sales over the course of the month - the lowest figure since the survey began - down from 17.4 in May.

As a result estate agents are seeing stocks pile up, with each now holding an average of 84.1 properties in June, up 34.1 per cent on a year ago.

However, there was one chink of light amid the wider gloom, with a slight slowdown in the number of agents reporting falling prices.

While 99.2 per cent more surveyors were reporting a fall rather than a rise in prices in May, and predictions the level could fall lower still, just 88 per cent net surveyors reported a fall in June.

The net balance of surveyors reporting price declines lessened slightly in seven out of the ten regions in England and Wales, while in the south-west and the Yorkshire & Humberside, the price balance deteriorated marginally.

In the West Midlands a sharper deterioration took place, with surveyors unanimous house prices are falling.

"With demand so low, would-be-buyers are negotiating from a position of strength," said Rics chief economist, Jeremy Leaf.

"Even in a weak market there are always opportunities for investors and buyers to profit and some are starting to circle for bargains.

"However, transaction levels remain incredibly low with many buyers cut out of the process by tight lending conditions."

Demand was also down, with new buyer enquiries continuing to fall. However, the pace of decline slowed for the second consecutive month.

New buyer enquiries fell at the fastest pace in the East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside. They fell at the slowest pace in London, the south-east and the south-west.

Finally, in terms of the outlook, the June survey builds tentatively on last month's modest improvement.

The net balance of surveyors expecting a drop in sales over the next three months was minus seven per cent compared with -15 in May.

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