RICS housing market survey finds number of homes coming to market and number of completed sales continue to fall

For sale signs

Bad weather during July failed to deter would-be-home-buyers from the housing market, but the amount of new homes coming to the market continued to fall as did the number of completed sales, the latest RICS UK housing market survey found.

The survey found a broadly flat 5% more chartered surveyors reported falls rather than rises in demand last month. It said the poor weather seen across many parts of the country did not deter potential buyers.

However, the survey found that the amount of new properties coming onto the market continued to drop off during July, with a net balance of 15% more chartered surveyors reporting falling supply.

The survey said the imbalance between demand and supply was being compounded by the ongoing difficulties many buyers were experiencing with mortgage finance and resulted in a drop in transactions.

The average number of completed sales per surveyor during July was 15.1. Despite the introduction of the government’s NewBuy initiative, activity has continued to fall away after a stronger start to the year, the survey said.

The survey said prices across the UK continued to edge lower last month, with 24% more surveyors reporting falls rather than rises in prices.

Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: “Despite the terrible weather seen in many parts of the county last month, a steady number of potential buyers still got out there to test the market.

“However, this didn’t result in a higher level of actual transactions. Fewer sellers are putting their homes up for sale and the ongoing problem of accessing affordable finance is not helping. If vendors want to sell their homes quickly, they will have to be realistic in their price expectations.”

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics latest housing price figures, showed that in the 12 months to June 2012, UK house prices increased by 2.3%, unchanged from the 12 months to May.

The ONS said house prices continued to remain relatively stable across most of the UK, with the year-on-year increase on the back of 2.8% growth in England, which was offset by declines in Scotland and Northern Ireland of 1% and 11.9% respectively. Prices remained unchanged in Wales.

The figures also found:

  • Annual house price increases in England were driven by a 6.5% rise in London, and increases in the South West and South East of 2.3% and 2.2% respectively. The only decrease in England was of 1.3% in the North East
  • Prices of new dwellings rose by 5.9% during the 12 months to June 2012, while the price of pre-owned dwellings increased by 2.1% in the same period
  • In June 2012, prices paid by first time buyers were 3.1% higher on average than in June 2011. For owner occupiers (existing owners) prices increased by 2.1% for the same period