Rics: Mortgage sales low but recovery expected

Date:Tuesday 11th November 2008

Mortgage sales per surveyor have hit a new low as a lack of mortgage finance continues to hold back the market, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has said.

The average number of transactions per surveyor dropped in October, according to Rics' UK housing market survey,

But there is also a rising expectation that sales will recover over the coming three months.

The average number of transactions per agency in the last three months is now at 10.9.

It is down from 11.5 in September and the lowest since the survey started in 1978.

But 20 per cent more surveyors expect sales to rise in the next three months.

Rics spokesperson Ian Perry warned: "The general lack of mortgage finance remains a major blockage in the housing market for a large majority of would-be buyers", but he added that many sellers are decreasing their prices, which should improve sales levels.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Estate Agents has called on the Chancellor to suspend stamp duty, saying the cost for first-time buyers has more than doubled in the last five years.

President-elect Chris Wood said: "Stamp duty cannot be used irresponsibly to boost [the Chancellor's] coffers."