• House prices falling rather than rising
  • Price falls in London are heavily weighing down the overall price growth reading across the UK.

London house prices declining

Falling prices in London are heavily weighing down the overall price growth reading across the UK. 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said a net balance of 8 per cent of surveyors across the UK reported prices falling rather than rising in April – the most negative figure since November 2012, albeit only a slight decline.

Nearly seven in 10 surveyors reported sales prices are coming in below asking prices for properties valued at over £1 million.

However in London, a balance of 65 per cent of surveyors saw prices fall over the month rather than rise. This is the weakest reading since February 2009 according to Rics. The most challenging in the market are the upper and middle priced tiers.

Nearly seven in 10 surveyors reported sales prices are coming in below asking prices for properties in London valued at over £1 million. This figure was 74 per cent for properties listed between £500,000 and £1 million. In contrast, most (59%) said sales prices were either at the same level or slightly above asking prices for properties marketed at £500,000 or less.

Falling prices were also still being reported in the South East of England, and also in the South West of England for the first time since May 2013

House price increase witnessed elsewhere in the UK

Meanwhile, house prices continue to rise in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the report said.

Looking ahead, a balance of 31 per cent of surveyors expect house prices to be higher in a year’s time, with the strongest sentiment in Scotland and the North West of England. Buyer demand and sales held steady over April, the report said, with Scotland showing the most upbeat assessment for sales prospects over the coming year.

But expectations remain downbeat in London, with 20 per cent more surveyors predicting a further decline over the year to come.

Average stock levels on estate agents’ books were broadly unchanged in April across the UK. Although they were still close to an all-time low in February. Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said the housing market typically tends to see a pick-up in activity at around this time of the year.

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