Business

Housing market 'is being stifled'

Houses
Image caption The housing market has shown little sign of change in recent months

The housing market is being stifled by a lack of first-time buyers and economic confidence, according to surveyors.

More reported prices falling than rising in November - a similar picture to the previous month, said the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

New buyer enquiries, newly agreed sales and average sales per surveyor all fell in November, the survey found.

Prices were falling across the UK and activity remained slow.

However, the end of the year is generally a slow time of year for the housing market and surveyors believe some sellers will wait until the new year before putting properties on the market.

Findings

The survey, which is generally well regarded in the industry, echoes the views of recent reports from lenders such as the Halifax and the Nationwide.

The survey found that 43% of the surveyors noted that prices were relatively stable over the past three months, although many said prices had fallen slightly in November.

The lack of demand, especially from first-time buyers struggling to get a mortgage, was in evidence from the falling number of new-buyer enquiries. This has now fallen for six months in a row.

"Despite some better economic data, fears over how future spending cuts will impact on the jobs market are clearly still weighing heavily on potential purchasers' minds, with many deciding to wait and see until the new year," said Rics spokesman Ian Perry.

"Meanwhile, the lack of mortgage finance continues to deter first time buyers."

Individual surveyors have reported that the picture for the housing market into next year could be similar.

"The new year looks to be slow with little buyer confidence," said Derek Coates of Liverpool.

Stuart Allan, of Bishop Auckland, said: "We are now entering the winter season and some vendors are putting off the sale of their properties until the spring."

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