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House prices down but future looks bright

Everywhere in the country saw a fall in property prices except London, according to new figures.

Data from the RICS UK Housing Market Survey, released yesterday 9 April, found prices continued to edge downward but at a slower pace than in recent months.

While London bucked the trend as prices continued to rise, outside the capital 10% more surveyors reported falls rather than rises in prices, representing the least negative reading since June 2010.

The report also found new buyer enquires edged up in March with 9% more surveyors reporting increases rather than decreases, the highest reading in almost two years, in demand as the stamp duty freeze for first timers came to an end.

Alongside this, the flow of new properties coming onto the market remained stable with a net balance of 2% more respondents reporting rises in new instructions from +7% more in February.

Significantly, many surveyors report those looking to sell their homes must be “realistic” in their price expectations if they are to be successful.

Looking ahead, with demand seeing gentle increases across much of the country, expectations for future transaction levels remain positive with a net balance of 20% more surveyors expecting sales to increase over the coming three months.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn, said: “Demand saw a slight boost in March as many first time buyers looked to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline.

“There has been a gentle increase in activity across the market in the early part of the year but it remains to be seen is whether this can continue, given the changes in the Budget and ongoing problems affecting the economy.

“London continues to outperform the rest of the UK in terms of prices but, interestingly, the north west did see an increase in activity in March.”

Published 10 April 2012

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