House prices continue to fall in east

HOUSE prices across the region have fallen for the second consecutive month, but lower prices are leading to a rise in sales expectations.

The latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) says that in the East of England, 57 per cent more chartered surveyors reported prices falling rather than rising in August - the biggest negative reading in the last 12 months.

And the bleak warning from estate agents is that sellers are often having to cut the price of their homes significantly to find a buyer.

Looking ahead, surveyors expect house prices over the next three months to continue to drop, with 52 per cent more predicting prices to fall rather than rise.

However, future expectations for sales have begun to pick up with 25 per cent more surveyors expecting sales to rise over the next three months.

RICS East operations director David Potter said: “The latest set of results suggest prices in many parts of the country may be slipping but this does appear to be encouraging hopes among surveyors that sales levels could begin to pick up as a result.

“That said, there can be little doubt that the restrictive attitude to the provision of mortgage finance will continue to limit transaction activity in the market.”

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Jacqui Curtis, senior negotiator for Ian Sinclair, in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, said: “We have had quite an active month but properties that are selling are the ones that have been substantially reduced. People are dropping prices by �5,000 or �10,000 and it is then we are finding a buyer.”

Charlie Penrose, from Arnolds Property Consultants LLP, in Norwich, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the remainder of this year will be a struggle to motivate buyers and sellers to do deals. “The temptations of agents to embark on fee wars and optimistic sale valuations to gain instructions will only add to the atrophy.”

Simon Hickling, of Maxey in Son, in King’s Lynn and Wisbech, said: “The uncertainty regarding jobs and interest rates is having a marked impact on buyers. Current activity remains low due to the holiday season.”

Tom Goodley, of Strutt and Parker, Norwich, said: “There appears to be a lot of over priced houses on the market and a shortage of buyers. The basic economics of supply and demand must prevail.”