Anyone buying a home who needs a mortgage can not normally proceed unless their lender is happy the price they are paying reflects the property's current value.
But estate agents claim surveyors are now regularly undervaluing many properties, making it impossible for some buyers to agree a price with a seller.
We asked for your comments, a selection of which are below. This debate is now closed.
MOST RECENT COMMENTS
My God banks behaving sensibly and cautiously! Can't have that.
Rather than invite an estate agent to carry out a meaningless market appraisal of a property, surely it would make better sense to employ a qualified surveyor to undertake a professional valuation to help establish a sensible asking price which is then also acceptable for mortgage lending purposes for a period of say six months?
Julian, New Maldon
Property prices are still massively over-valued and will continue to fall for the next two to three years. Surveyors are merely attempting to be realistic about where prices are heading. I don't believe this scuppers first-time buyers. It prevents first-time buyers from buying at a price that is guaranteed negative equity and an unnecessary amount of debt on their shoulders for the duration of the mortgage. Why is it that when everything else goes down it's good news but property prices becoming affordable for those of average incomes bad?
The real issue here is that sellers won't adjust to the new world of lower house prices. This crash hasn't really started yet. When unemployment is at three million, and taxes are increasing (to cover government deficits) house prices will really collapse
If I was a surveyor I'd be nervous too.
Auction is market value. Two willing participants; the legal owner and purchaser. Other sales are mostly the result of market manipulation between various vested interest groups.
Nick Howell-Ives, Brentwood
Surely, as a buyer needing a mortgage, you'd be delighted to get a low valuation - it simply means you need to borrow less money to buy the house! The real story is sellers asking too much, not valuers giving a valuation which protects the banks' money.
What the buyer is willing to pay for the property is irrelevant. If he were a cash buyer, he could pay whatever he liked. But the lender has an obligation to protect its own interests by pricing the property realistically so that it has a chance of recouping its losses if the buyer were to be repossessed. This is a welcome example of a return to common sense after nearly a decade of insanity in the property market.
Terri Trimble, Twickenham
Shouldn't this be easy to understand? A valuation is done at a price that an average seller and average buyer would be prepared to exchange at. Of course you will get problems if you are dealing with a buyer who lacks common sense.
Keith Warhurst, Caithness
The only person preventing the sale is the owner, not the buyer, not the bank. If the price comes in lower, the buyer benefits in so many ways. There has to be checks and balances, you don't give a kid candy whenever he asks for it do you.
House prices at the level that they have reached are still unsustainable. No-one in your report pointed out that the price the seller was asking is over five times the average wage. As for the concept of what a "willing buyer or seller" would pay on the day, it is ludicrous! It is only relevant if the buyer is funding the purchase out of his own pocket. The buyer in your report only had 20% of the price, so the value to him was less than £40k and anything more was a risk for whoever is lending.
lewis of loxford, London
Two years ago I decided to put my home on the market and called an estate agent in for a valuation. After walking around, praising the house, its location, and its value ("Definitely over 250k, but it is just assessing how much") he came back - with £240,000. Another agency gave a value of £360,000, and three others all came around that value. The first agency, when I called to explain why I wouldn't be using them, tried to tell me that all the others were gross overvaluations by inexperienced agencies! One of these "inexperienced agencies" was established in the 1920s.
Em Bon, Carlisle
Just goes to show there are a few greater fools still around. Trying to force a lender to enable him to pay too much for a flat! Brilliant, succint example of low financial IQ.
Banks and building societies are in danger of catching further serious colds - property flu in fact. Of course they must value conservatively because they are relying on the property's value as security in case of default. The property ladder has been converted into a property slide, making much lower valuations inevitable.
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