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RICS: ‘There are enough valuers out there to meet market demand’

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has hit out at claims that a shortage of qualified surveyors has led to valuation backlogs in some parts of the country.


The trade body argues there are enough qualified valuers in the market but “unsustainable market conditions” have led to it “not being in the valuer’s interest to take work which is unprofitable”.

The main factors which have contributed to these conditions, RICS says, are “unsubstantiated” negligence claims from lenders, which have forced up professional indemnity insurance premiums, and falling valuation fees.

The trade body says there are currently 8,500 residential valuers registered, of which 5,500 list residential valuation as their primary activity, and around 2,000 of which work for the largest 20 firms in the UK.

RICS president Alan Collett says: “There are enough valuers out there to meet market demand, many working in small and regional practices. The problem isn’t one of capacity but the fact that the market in which they’re operating is wholly unsustainable.

Insurance premiums have risen so considerably in recent years due to the sheer volume of unsubstantiated negligence claims against valuers. What’s more, the fees professionals receive per job are being squeezed and they simply are not willing to carry out the work where it is unprofitable. Clearly, there is a serious problem with the market but blaming a shortage of valuers is not addressing the real issue.”

The rebuttal comes at a time when many industry experts have warned that there could be huge delays in the home buying process due to a lack of qualified surveyors to deal with the pick-up in mortgage activity.

Mortgage Strategy revealed the true extent of the problem after conducting a mystery shopping exercise, on 14 June, and found that in certain parts of London, surveyors had temporarily stopped taking on business.

Even those that were still accepting business warned borrowers could face waits of up to five weeks to get a surveyor to conduct a valuation. Brokers say an acceptable waiting time for a completed valuation is around a week.

Posing as a borrower, Mortgage Strategy contacted three of the biggest surveyors – Colleys, e.surv and Connells – to ask how long it would take to get a homebuyer report and, separately, a less detailed valuation done on a property in SW15, with a mortgage from Halifax.

Connells and e.surv say they were currently “on hold” in SW15, meaning they are not accepting new instructions.

A customer service representative for Colleys said: “We are really busy in this area. We are booked up until the first week of July and then our surveyor is off for two weeks, so we are not available until the 22 July.”

While delays seem to be worst in London and the South East, brokers from around the country have contacted Mortgage Strategy complaining of valuation delays of anything up to five weeks.


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  • David Sheppard, Perception Finance 2nd July 2013 at 9:37 am

    Richard Sexton, there is evidence of disagreements between surveyors and I and a few others have highlighted stories of when this has happened. Are you therefore saying that both are correct?

    If one is wrong then there is either a case of a down-valuation or an up-valuation.

    In my case, with the amount of evidence to the contrary I took the application to another lender and feel I was proved right in that another surveyor agreed with the original valuation based on the comparable evidence that they themselves found (probably the same as the ones I submitted to contest the first application).

    I do not mind a lively debate but to say there is potentially no such thing as a down-valuation is questionable.

  • Russell Watson 1st July 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I too have had problems with Eserv like many of the brokers here. I supplied very good comparables and they again didn’t move their valuation. In most professions if on occasion a mistake has been made they remedy it and say that they have got it wrong. I don’t see surveyors following this train of thought! I think they beleive that they are always right regardless.

  • ronalado 29th June 2013 at 7:52 am

    I bet if we did a poll on who are the most scared of their own shadows in the valuers community – the consistent downvaluers will be e surv without a doubt – they are not known as THE BIG DIPPERS for nothing. I always inform my customers when booking a valuation to have anyone bar them

  • Richard Sexton e.surv 28th June 2013 at 1:52 pm

    A lively debate- dare I suggest there is no such thing as a down-valuation- but we do see plenty of over estimates! Actually, whatever side of the debate you are on, this is much improved. In 2008, over 50% of cases failed to meet estimate- today its closer to 25%.Perception caught of with reality. Valuers are paid to advise & protect the lender, not simply facilitate a loan at a ‘hoped for’ value. Surely, no party should be encouraging applicants to lend based on unrealistic equity expectations, but this does seem to happen regularly- discuss!

  • Ketan Yadav - Avenue & Co Private Finance 28th June 2013 at 12:56 pm

    @ GHU – GHU | 26 Jun 2013 3:51 pm

    Well tell me, why is it that ESurv downvalued a clients property from £1.7m to £1.5m. Then I placed the case with Halifax – who then valued it at £1.7m less than 2 weeks after?

    With surveyors, its like throwing it against the wall and seeing how much it sticks. The number of downvaluations I have had, only then to place it with another firm & lender and the value changes is SHOCKING. Come write to me and I will give you 3 examples in the last 1month alone. Consumers need to be aware that a) NOT all Surveyors are the same and b) NOT all brokers are the same.

  • David Sheppard, Perception Finance 28th June 2013 at 8:57 am

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with GHU too. I have had a situation where, on a remortgage, one lender valuer has valued lower than expected despite being able to provide multiple comparables (one of the few times I could with how the market is and the rigid requirements about timeframes) only for the valuer concerned to refuse to move on their figure.

    I then took the mortgage to another lender only 2 weeks later and a different surveyor had no hesitation in giving the figure we had initially indicated.

    I agree that surveyors mostly get it right but please do not always assume that this is the case. Sometimes brokers do have the ability to do advanced research and can be the ones who are correct.

  • A Mortgage Adviser 27th June 2013 at 3:01 pm


    if you think so, thats your opinion

    please do not be telling me what my opinion should be!

  • Kurt 26th June 2013 at 4:30 pm

    A Mortgage Adviser | 26 Jun 2013 3:57 pm

    Please don’t embarass the broker community with your idiotic comments. You basically back up GHUs point to a ‘T’. Would seem a gnat has more brain sells than yourself!

  • jez 26th June 2013 at 4:27 pm

    What GHU said………….

  • A Mortgage Adviser 26th June 2013 at 3:57 pm

    the literal has hit the fan, this is dispicable behaviour from the surveyor community.

    GHU – you are an idiot. Us brokers make sure surveyors are not being lazy. Most of them are.

  • GHU 26th June 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Anon – It might help if some brokers realised that the valuer may have a better understanding of property values than they do and then stopped moaning about down valuations.

  • Tom Cleary 26th June 2013 at 1:54 pm

    So, let me get this right as I want to be absolutely fair. RICS are saying there are enough valuers to cope with demand but they are prioritising the work that pays them the most? That is understandable but it doesn’t solve the problem does it? There are significant delays, the industry needs a solution…


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