Survey shows fall in house prices


It tallies with data from the Halifax earlier this week which showed nationally United Kingdom house prices fell 3 per cent in April.

Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau, commented: "Following on from reports earlier this week that the average house price had cooled last month, it's not a huge surprise to find that the opinion amongst RICS members points to the market cooling last month, not just in areas that were already seeing values recede, such as London and the South East, but in the South West which previously had seen significant increases".

Today's MPC meeting at the Bank of England is expected to produce no change in interest rates - despite having telegraphed a rise for months, with arguments built around money market yield curves.

A dragonfly doji here too and oversold. Further ahead, however, a headline net balance of +31% of respondents expect prices to be higher in a year's time. Whilst London, on the other hand, didn't mirror this positivity, the reading of -200% was the least negative since June previous year.

In London 65% saw prices fall over the month rather than rise (which is the weakest reading since February 2009).

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Moving on to new buyer enquiries, whilst the trend has remained relatively steady throughout April, the figures show that demand has not given a positive reading for thirteen months in a row. However, the underlying trend in transactions still remains broadly flat. On the same basis, expectations remain downbeat in London, albeit the net balance of -20% was the least negative since June 2017. Across the United Kingdom the picture remains varied, with sales only rising to any meaningful extent in four of the 12 regions or countries - including Scotland - covered by the survey.

"It's a fairly positive picture at the moment in the residential market in Northern Ireland with surveyors indicating that prices are rising and expectations for prices and sales strengthening", said RICS residential spokesman, Samuel Dickey. The report says that part of the softness may be down to the dearth of new landlord instructions coming onto the rental market, with this indicator remaining negative for an eighth successive quarter.

Alan Collett, fund manager at Hearthstone Investments, comments: "The RICS survey for April supports our view that residential property continues to offer opportunities for savvy investors while prospective movers sit on the side-lines".

House prices fell last month, despite demand from buyers stabilising, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

This weakness also seems to be spreading across the price category below, with 74% of respondents noting sales prices coming in lower than asking for properties listed at between £1m and £500,000, up from 56% in January.