News alert: house buyers spotted by surveyors

We’re in one of the gloomiest periods for the housing market in recent memory – but there are still a handful of people out there looking to buy, according to the latest report from a professional organisation.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has released its Housing Market Survey for June – and it found that transactions are at their lowest levels since it began keeping records.

It blames shrinking access to mortgage finance but says there is still activity from buy-to-let investors who want to take advantage of rising rents. And it also points to “predatory buyers” looking for a bargain.

The report says: “The inability of many to get secure mortgage finance is reflected in the collapse in transactions.

“The average number of transactions per surveyor (over the last three months) is now at 15.3, the lowest figure since the survey began and the net balance of new agreed sales remains in negative territory.

“Demand is weak with the balance of surveyors reporting new buyer enquiries still well into negative territory.

However, there has been a noticeable improvement in the trend with 35% more Chartered Surveyors reporting a fall in buyer enquires compared to 50% in May and 69% in April.”

It also points to an absence of “distress sales” (made by people facing reposession) and says that employment is still strong enough for people to generally be keeping up with their mortgage payments.

Jeremy Leaf, RICS spokesperson, said: “With demand so low, would-be-buyers are negotiating from a position of strength.

“Even in a weak market there are always opportunities for investors and buyers to profit and some are starting to circle for bargains.

“However, transaction levels remain incredibly low with many buyers cut out of the process by tight lending conditions.”

Visit the RICS website here >>