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Market took a turn for the worse last month

The upturn in housing activity appeared to fizzle out in April, following the end of the Stamp Duty holiday in March.

Transaction levels entered negative territory in April for the first time since September 2011, with 6% more chartered surveyors reporting decreases rather than increases in transaction levels, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

House prices also edged lower during the month, with 19% more chartered surveyors reporting a fall in prices in April.

But while surveyors’ predictions for future prices saw a notable dip, expectations for transaction levels remained positive, with a net balance of +15% more respondents expecting sales to rise over the coming three months.

Ed Stansfield, property economist at Capital Economics, says: “Given the potential for the end of the first-time buyer Stamp Duty holiday in March to have affected the number of buyers and sellers in the market, we would be wary of reading too much into the recent monthly movements.

“Nevertheless, there is nothing in the latest survey to suggest that the housing market is about to emerge from its current torpor.”

He adds: “Equally, however, there was little in the data to suggest that the market is about to take a marked turn for the worse.”

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