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Homebuyers still sidelined as market remains flat

Homebuyers still sidelined as market remains flat

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 13/04/2011
First Published: 12/04/2011

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Potential homebuyers continue to sit on the property sidelines after research revealed the UK housing market remained flat during March.

Low levels of sales and falling buyer demand were apparent during the month, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK Housing Market survey.

Estate agents said demand for property experienced a slight downturn, with many regions seeing house prices slide slightly lower as a result.

Concern over the economic outlook and the prospect of future rises in interest rates were partly blamed for the shortage of homebuyer interest.

RICS said first time buyers also continued to find it difficult to access the mortgage deals they need.

Despite the negative reading nationally, the report noted that strong regional variations were in evidence.

Large parts of the Midlands and the North of England saw buyer interest drop considerably, while areas such as Scotland, Wales and the South East reported a steady increase.

However, London was the only area of the country to report a rise in prices.

New instructions to sell remained steady, while newly agreed sales, which RICS flags up as a good indicator of market activity, were flat across the UK as a whole.

RICS said the reluctance of home-sellers to further lower their prices remains a stumbling block to many would-be buyers.

Ian Perry, housing spokesperson for RICS, said the rather negative outlook for property prices across the UK seemed a better reflection of the general economy than rises which were seen in the capital.

"The low level of buyer interest in many parts of the UK continues to impact on the market, resulting in some downward pressure on prices," he added.

"With the prospect of forthcoming interest rate rises and continued shortage of mortgage funding, it seems that overall recovery for the national housing market is still some way off."

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