House prices steady, says Rics

Julian Harris
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THE decline in <a href="";>house prices</a> may be slowing down, according to data released today by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The survey’s headline net price balance improved for the second month in a row in December, RICS said.

And expectations for sales edged upwards, with eight per cent more surveyors expecting sales to increase rather than decrease in the coming months.

“Many respondents suggested that the market may begin to pick up again in the spring,” the report said.

Overall, 39 per cent more surveyors saw prices fall rather than rise in December, yet this was a large improvement on October’s figure of 49 per cent reporting drops in prices.

The supply of new houses onto the market dropped sharply, at its sharpest rate since May 2009 – which some economists say can boost prices. However, demand also fell, albeit at a slower rate than in November.

Meanwhile, a separate poll revealed that over two thirds (68 per cent) of people in Britain think that this is a bad time to buy real estate.

The UK was ranked among the worst places to buy property, according to the international survey.

“The public are being cautious over spending until they feel confident about the economy,” said Ashish Prashar Ipsos MORI, who conducted the poll.

“The green shoots might be there but it will take more than that to get people moving house,” he added.