Surveyors predict 'flat summer' in housing market

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Activity in the UK housing market is continuing to slow down, with property surveyors predicting a flat summer ahead.

Members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said the number of sales and new instructions both declined in April.

It said momentum was continuing to ebb, with the number of enquiries from potential buyers also flat.

One reason it cited was uncertainty over the general election.

Earlier this week the Halifax said average house prices had fallen over the last three months - the first quarterly drop in nearly five years.

However, the Rics survey points to a mixed picture on prices.

It said property values had been falling in central London for more than a year, with no increases in East Anglia or north-east England.

But prices in the north-west are still rising.

"Although the picture clearly does vary across the country, the bulk of the feedback we are receiving points to a fairly flat summer for both activity and prices," said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics.

"Lack of stock on the market remains a key challenge for the sector."

He also said that tax changes for buy-to-let investors were likely to mean that rents will continue to rise faster than house prices, in the near future as well as further ahead.

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