House prices have fallen again as interest from new buyers continues to wane. The latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that new buyer enquiries dropped for the fifth consecutive month in October. An apparent lack of mortgage finance and a 'generally cautious attitude' from prospective buyers was said to be to blame for the dwindling interest.
Meanwhile, the number of new properties being placed on the market for sale dropped for the first time since January, when the wintry weather kept potential sellers indoors. Barring this, RICS said the supply of properties to the market had been rising more or less consistently since July last year.
The average number of properties on surveyors' books fell to 67.2, down from 69.1, while completed sales fell to an average of 15.2 per surveyor, the worst reading since June 2009. The surveyors who responded to the survey said that the market was generally cautious, with many buyers indicating that they are going to wait until the spring to make a decision.
"Activity is subdued and house prices are falling across the majority of the country – a trend which looks set to continue over the next few months into the New Year against a backdrop of depleted consumer sentiment," said Alison Beech, business relationship director at Spicerhaart and Valunation.
"A growing number of homeowners are falling into negative equity and becoming trapped in their mortgage, unable to remortgage or to contemplate moving house.
"On the flip side of the coin, we may be set to see affordability improve, eventually allowing a greater number of first time buyers to get a foot on the housing ladder, which will open the way for more healthy market activity."
Although mortgage deals are not as prevalent as they once were, some terrific products can still be found. Lenders such as Woolwich, Yorkshire Building Society, first direct, Northern Rock and ING Direct all currently have some cracking mortgage deals on the table. Or if none of these take your fancy, a mortgage broker such as Mortgage Solvers will be able to provide you with advice on most of the other deals that are around at the moment.
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