Prices fall in August as surveyors predict further drops, says RICS

House sales slumped to their lowest level for two years last month, according to the latest housing market survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

The average number of sales per surveyor over the three months to August fell to an average of 14 per surveyor – the lowest level since June 2009. The RICS figures are adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations.

23% of surveyors (up from 22% in July) also reported prices fell in August rather than rose. New buyer enquiries also fell back 3% , the RICS said.

Surveyors were also gloomy about the prospects for house prices, with 23% more respondents anticipating price declines than price rises over the next three months.

Most surveyors blamed economic uncertainty (79%) and a lack of mortgage finance (70%) for the depressed outlook for the housing market.

RICS housing spokesperson, Alan Collett, said: “For the time being, our indicators suggest that demand for homes remain broadly steady, albeit at relatively low levels, despite the renewed bout of economic gloom.

“However, the risk is that the worsening economic picture will gradually begin to have a more material impact on sentiment and discourage potential house purchasers even where mortgage finance is available. ”