Economic gloom is keeping a lid on property sales

Uncertainty surrounding the economy kept property sales depressed in August, the latest housing market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors shows.

The number of sales per surveyor over the three months to August dipped slightly to an average of 14, taking transactions back to June 2009 levels. Meanwhile, average stocks on surveyors’ books fell from 70 in July to 67 in August.

When asked why sales continue to be subdued, 79% of surveyors cited economic uncertainty and 70% said a lack of finance. And 40% said fears over price falls were holding back buyers and sellers.

The survey also reveals that new buyer enquiries fell in August as 3% more chartered surveyors reported a decrease rather than an increase.
Alan Collett, housing specialist at RICS, says: “Our indicators suggest demand for homes remains steady, albeit at low levels, despite the renewed bout of economic gloom. But the risk is that the worsening economic picture will begin to have a more material impact on sentiment and discourage purchasers even if finance is available.”