Rics: Lack of mortgage finance is stalling the market

Date:Tuesday 13th January 2009
Author: Max Freedman

House sales reached a record low despite high levels of buyer interest, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has stated.

Reporting that the average number of transactions per agency hit 10.1 in December, the lowest since 1978 when the record began, Rics also said that its data showed interest was "upbeat".

Spokesperson Ian Perry commented: "Buyer interest is now at levels not seen since 2006 but without mortgage finance the housing market is at a standstill and transaction levels at an all-time low."

He called for the government to guarantee new residential mortgages, warning that otherwise the recession could worsen as homeowners cannot go into the market and repossessions and negative equity become more common.

In December, Rics reported that buyer interest was improving although sales had fallen.

At the time, spokesperson Jeremy Leaf observed that sellers would have to accept that house prices were falling.

He also noted that people were not likely to try to secure a mortgage unless they were sure their employment situation was secure.