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RICS: Housing sales at less than one a week

Surveyors are reporting an average of less than one housing sale per week according to the latest figures from RICS.

The RICS UK housing market survey showed the continued inability to secure mortgage finance was reflected in the dropping in transactions.

The average number of transactions per surveyor over the last three months is now at 11.5, the lowest number since the survey began in 1978.

London is the worst hit region with chartered surveyor estate agents reporting only eight sales on average over the past three months.

The balance of surveyors have also reported an increase in the number of house price falls for the first time since April.

Some 84.2 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise in house prices, an increase from 81.8 per cent in August.

RICS said with the decline in house prices unlikely to abate in the near term and the likelihood of achieving a sale a distant memory, many are placing their property on the market for rent or sitting tight while the financial turmoil continues.

The market has still yet to experience significant numbers of forced sales but surveyors are surprisingly optimistic that sales will increase over the next three months.

For the first time since June 2007 the net balance of surveyors expecting sales to improve turned positive.

RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf said: “The announcement by the Government that the re-capitalisation of banks will be accompanied by increased lending to home owners, raises the possibility that the lack of mortgage finance that has so damaged the housing market might be eased.

“As it stands, only those with significant finances are in a position to access the market.

“The housing market continues to hold its breath and unless mortgage liquidity improves, the market is likely to remain a dormant beast for some time to come.”