Country houses for sale

House prices ‘falling’

House prices fell for the fourth month running in November, as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors found 40.6% more surveyors reported a fall in prices than a rise.

‘Sentiment in the housing market deteriorated further in November, with the balance of surveyors turning the most negative since May 2005,’ says its latest report.

The falls are as a result of weakening demand, as would-be buyers wait and see what is to happen, and the seasonal Christmas slowdown.

Prices in the East and West Midlands fell most last month, the report found, with the North and North West also seeing significant falls. The South East also saw falls, although London and Scotland remain some of the healthiest markets.

‘The market has gone more quiet, more quickly, for the time of year,’ said Peter Hayward, a surveyor in Cumbria. ‘Confidence has been dented and would-be buyers are very unsure of what 2008 will bring. There will always be buyers and sellers however, but from now on sellers need to be well advised which should present an opportunity for the better estate agent.’

Economists say the report brings little to surprise: ‘It was hardly a surprise to see November’s housing market survey again painting a weak picture of the market,’ said Kelvin Davidson from Capital Economics. ‘With the supply/demand balance continuing to loosen and lenders steadily making it harder to obtain a mortgage our central view remains that house prices will fall modestly in 2008.’