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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
House market 'turning the corner'
House viewers
Demand is rising and there are fewer properties on the market
House prices look set to rise for the first time in 18 months, according to a poll of chartered surveyors.

Rising demand from buyers and hopes of more rate cuts roused the market in September, said the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

House prices are now expected to rise marginally by the end of the year.

Earlier this month, mortgage lender Halifax said the cost of property had risen 1.8% in the last three months, helped by August's rate cut.

Additionally, the amount of new property coming onto the market fell in September for the first time in a year and a half, RICS said.

The upturn in demand and improved outlook on interest rates has led surveyors to predict house price rises for the first time since early 2004
Ian Perry, RICS

During September, 21% more chartered surveyors in England, Scotland and Wales said they thought the value of property had fallen, down from 25% in August.

Regional divide

The level of new enquiries, though modest, increased for the fourth month running in September, partly stoked by August's rate cut.

Though sellers asking for unrealistic prices still struggled to find potential buyers, they started to feel more confident as fears of a sharp fall in house prices have "largely dissipated", RICS said.

"The upturn in demand and improved outlook on interest rates has led surveyors to predict house price rises for the first time since early 2004, though these are expected to be small," said spokesman Ian Perry.

However, regional trends still showed a mixed pattern.

London house prices were static, the survey said, after suffering falls since the middle of 2004.

In other parts of the country price falls have slowed, particularly in East Anglia and the North.

Meanwhile, prices in Scotland have continued to rise.

Prices in the South East and Wales bucked the trend and the pace of price falls increased slightly. In the North West prices resumed their downturn after being stable for two months.


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