Latest RICS data shows stable December but growing gloom for 2012

Expectations for the future of the housing market weakened in December, according to the latest data from the RICS.

Its monthly survey of estate agents showed that the market held firm in December, with the rate of price falls easing marginally, and the average number of sales per surveyor remaining close to 12-month highs.

The RICS said that the balance of surveyors reporting price falls rather than rises rose to -16 from -17 in December, while the number of sales per surveyor fell to 15.2, just 0.2 short of November’s high.

However, the balance of expectations of whether sales will rise or fall in the next three months fell to zero, from +4% in November, with the expectation of price movement slipping further from -22 to -24%. The data also showed an increase in the amount of stock coming on to the market, with the balance of surveyors reporting a rise in new instructions increasing from 10% to +12%.

Once again the data showed prices falling in every region outside of London, with falls particularly widespread in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Ian Perry, RICS housing spokesperson, said: “While it’s encouraging that sales activity held up relatively well towards the end of the year, continuing problems with the economy and the ongoing instability in the eurozone seem to be weighing heavily on the UK housing market and expectations for the coming months are fairly subdued.”