UK House Price Balance 22% In March - RICS

Construction cranes are seen on a residential building project behind homes in west London in Britain

Construction cranes are seen on a residential building project behind homes in west London in Britain

Surveyors' perceptions about current house price growth in central London have deteriorated to the weakest levels seen since 2009, Rics said. In March, around three per cent more respondents saw a fall in sales than those who saw any kind of increase.

The number of sales and new buyer enquiries in the United Kingdom housing market experienced little change in March, according to a fresh survey.

There were 43 unsold properties per branch on average in March - the lowest figure since the Rics started collecting the data.

"What's more, respondents expect only a modest improvement as the year wears on, with twelve month sales projections being trimmed", RICS said.

Although prices in central London fell - to the capital's worst balance since 2009 of -49% - the rest of the United Kingdom has strengthened slightly since December, with prices across the North West have been on a firm upward march.

That was in line with expectations and unchanged from the February reading.

"The key theme that really runs through the whole of this survey is the lack of supply on the market", said Simon Rubinsohn, RICS' chief economist. High end sale properties in central London remain under pressure, while the wider residential market continues to be underpinned by a lack of stock.

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In the lettings market, Rics said tenant demand continues to grow, with 11 per cent more surveyors noting an increase rather than a fall in demand.

"On a UK-wide basis, new buyer enquiries [a good indicator of demand] were flat for a third successive month", RICS said.

"This includes rents, which away from the capital are generally moving higher as demand outstrips supply".

The main contribution to the increase in house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 6.3 per cent in the year to February, with the average cost of a home at £234,000.

It is frustrating to see that the market dipped slightly last month, according to Richard Sexton, director at e.surv. 'Transactions have remained flat for a while now, in part due to a lack of affordable housing for first time buyers, which has led many people to continue renting or move back in with their parents in order to save for a deposit, ' he said.

United Kingdom house prices fell for the first time in nearly two years in March, according to Nationwide, with the average price dropping to £207,308 following a 0.6% rise in prices in February.

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