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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 00:00 GMT
Home buyers put off by price fears
A row of for sale signs
The house market is still strong in the north
Many potential UK house buyers are putting house moves on ice because they are worried that house prices may fall during 2003.

The market in London and the South East is delicately balanced, with a definite sense of caution among buyers

Ian Perry, RICS spokesman
The latest quarterly survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that London house buyers were being the most cautious but the market in the rest of the UK was still growing.

Overall, according to the survey, price increases slowed for the third month in a row, with 41% more surveyors reporting a rise in prices rather than a fall during the three months to the end of December.

Open in new window : UK property market
The house price boom

The market outlook is gloomiest in the capital with surveyors reporting slight price falls.

But RICS added that the falls seen were not out of the ordinary in the run-up to Christmas.

'No crash'

Outside London prices continued to rise, with 60% more surveyors in northern regions and Wales reporting rises rather than falls.

In the West Midlands 44% more surveyors said they were seeing price rises.

However, the property markets in the South East and East Anglia seem to be falling into London's sluggish pattern - only 19% of surveyors in the South East and 31% in East Anglia reported seeing gains.

"The market in London and the South East is delicately balanced, with a definite sense of caution among buyers.

"However, there is no sign of a market crash in the offing as some reports suggested last month, with other regions still experiencing strong increases in values," RICS national housing spokesman Ian Perry said.


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