The outlook for house prices remains mixed, according to the latest House Market Survey reports from RICS.
Whilst there was a general stabilising of property sales in the last quarter of 2010, pessimism is still surrounding the future of house prices.
Almost a third (29%) more surveyors are expecting prices to fall in the next three months, than rise, although there is an expectation that the number of property sales will increase over the coming months.
New buyer enquiries – which signal demand for property – have fallen for the seventh consecutive month. Surveyors continue to report that lending constraints, particularly to first-time buyers, remains the biggest barrier to any strong improvement in the market.
Sellers, too, remain reluctant to place their property on the market so lack of supply is also distorting market activity at the moment.
“Although bad weather hit the housing market during December sales levels have remained stable. While lack of supply, and more importantly demand continues to impact heavily, surveyor sentiment does appear more positive for the coming months.”
“The key issue now is mortgage finance. However, with commentators suggesting lending constraints are unlikely to be eased, it is hard to envisage a meaningful increase in sales levels in the near term.”, says Jeremy Leaf, RICS spokesperson.