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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK
Housing market 'stable'
For sale signs in London
By BBC economics reporter
Dharshini David

After falling prices earlier in the year, the housing market appears to be stabilising, according to the latest monthly survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).


This month's survey confirms the market is continuing to stabilise

RICS
The percentage of surveyors reporting price falls exceeded those reporting rises by six points in the three months to September, the same as in August.

This was the first time this year that the balance had not deteriorated compared with the previous month.

The RICS claims that the slowdown in the housing market earlier in the year reflected fewer first-time buyers and fewer investors buying property to let, deterred by high prices.

London, which tends to lead the national housing market, saw a sharp decline in the proportion of surveyors reporting lower prices in September.

But at the moment, it is a different story in the rest of the South East, where this survey showed prices falling at their fastest rate in six years.

The RICS claims that this decline is likely to be a short-lived correction, as prices in the South East adjust to match the falls seen in London earlier in the year.

Nationwide

Elsewhere in the country, prices continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate than at the start of the year.

Coupled with the decline in prices in the South East, this has meant that the gulf between house prices in the North and the South has narrowed somewhat.

The RICS expects that the levelling off of the housing market in the capital will ripple out across the country as a whole.

Ian Perry, RICS housing market spokesman said: "This month's survey confirms the market is continuing to stabilise.

"This is expected to continue into the New Year."

The RICS report, based on the findings of more than 200 surveyors, says that September's fuel crisis had little impact on the number of property sales carried out.

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See also:

02 Oct 00 | Business
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05 Sep 00 | Business
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04 Aug 00 | Business
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