House prices continuing to fall as autumn bounce fails to kick in

The housing market flatlined in September according to the latest data from the RICS showing a range of market indicators barely moving from their August figures.

The monthly survey of estate agents found that a slightly larger number of surveyors reported house price falls, edging the percentage balance down from -24 to -27.

The number of new buyer enquiries edged up slightly, while the number of instructions from sellers decreased marginally. The sales to stock ratio, the number of homes on agents’ books and the average number of sales all remained virtually unchanged in the month, supporting fears that the traditional seasonal boost to the market hasn’t been forthcoming.

Surveyors continue to overwhelmingly expect prices to fall further in the next three months, with a balance of -23 expecting more falls. However, they also expect a greater number of sales, but this expectation is weakening, down from a balance of +16 to +12.

RICS housing spokesperson, Michael Newey, said: “Falling supply of fresh stock is indicative of general fears overhanging the economy, with many potential sellers preferring to stay put for now. As a result, the UK housing market remains pretty flat with activity level generally subdued.

“Although it is hard to see what will give the market a lift in the near term, the announcement of a further raft of quantitative easing from the Bank of England will help to at least keep mortgage rates down. This, if nothing else, should ease the pressure on existing homeowners and limit the risk of a material pick-up in repossessions.”