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House sale volumes fall almost 40% from 2007 peak

House sales are almost 40% lower than five years ago at the peak of the boom, says the latest housing market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

During May, the average number of completed sales per surveyor was 15.6. This represents almost a 40% drop from May 2007’s figure of 25.4 and goes some way to illustrating the extent to which market activity has fallen in recent years.

RICS says that because transactions are down and affordable mortgage finance is harder to come by, homes are taking considerably longer to sell.

During the three months to May, surveyors sold 23.1% of the homes on their books – a significant fall from the same period in 2007, which was at 40.9%.

Chartered surveyors expect transaction levels to see a slight upturn over the coming three months, with a net balance of 9% more respondents predicting rises, while expectations for future prices remain squarely in negative territory.

Peter Bolton King, housing specialist at RICS, says: “It’s no surprise to see such a sizeable drop in transactions since the market peak in 2007. Ongoing economic instability in the UK and overseas has continued to undermine consumer confidence, and the reluctance of banks to offer affordable mortgages has created a stagnant market.

“In spite of this, stability is gradually returning to the market and surveyors expect transaction levels to increase over the coming months, even if prices continue to dip across most of the country.”

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