House prices in first fall since July 2009

House prices fell for the first time in a year last month as demand tailed off and the number of properties coming onto the market increased, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK Housing Market Survey.

The latest RICS survey for July shows 8% more property surveyors reported a fall compared to a rise in prices. This compares to last month where 8% more surveyors reported a rise than a fall.

This is the first fall since July 2009 when 16% more surveyors reported a fall than a rise.

Regionally, the only areas that continued to see house prices rising last month were London and the North West.

Demand for property, based on the net balance of new buyer enquiries, fell for the second month in a row from -6 to -10, RICS says.

It says this comes as difficulty in securing mortgages—with lenders continuing to hoarde capital to repair their balance sheets—and uncertainty about the prospects for the economy have contributed to caution. (article continues below)

The number of new vendor instructions, a measure of how many properties are coming to the market, increased with 33% more surveyors reporting a rise rather than a fall to properties on their books versus 28% in June.

But the average number of sales per surveyor stayed flat at 10.6.

The RICS forward house price expectations numbers also turned negative, with 28% more surveyors expecting price falls over the comping months compared to 6% in June.

Ian Perry, RICS spokesperson, says: “The fall in the RICS house price measure is broadly consistent with most other recent data that has been released.

“Significantly, the forward looking price expectations suggest that this softer trend will continue through the second half of the year.”

RICS adds that sales expectations remain positive, with 8% more surveyors expecting sales to rise rather than fall, although this is down from June.