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Tougher lending conditions dampen buyer demand, says RICS

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Tougher lending conditions dampen buyer demand, says RICS

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Finance

RICS UK housing market survey finds rebound slowing down RICS UK housing market survey finds rebound slowing down

Not enough properties coming onto the market and more stringent lending conditions appear to be stemming the tide of prospective home buyers, according to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey for May 2014.

The national supply of new homes coming onto the market declined for the fifth consecutive month in May. In London - despite fears of an overheating market - demand for new homes fell for the first time since June 2012.

The tightening in lending conditions facing some parts of the housing market even led to a modest pick-up in demand in the rental sector and rent prices are now projected to grow at around 2.5% over the next twelve months, and at an average annual rate of 4% over the next five years.

In the month that saw UK house prices reach record levels (£186,512) and greater lending restrictions begin to impact the market, respondents reported that banks are lending less, with the average Loan to Value (LTV) ratios among first time buyers dropping to 85.3% (from 86% in April). Respondents’ expectations for house prices over the next 12 months dropped from 3.9% to 3.6% - the lowest since December 2013.

RICS said that "although more modest expectations for growth in activity are visible in the capital, there are some early signs that concerns over both supply and finance could be influencing prospects elsewhere in the country". For example, sales expectations over the next three months in the South East show a net balance of 29% of chartered surveyors expect greater market activity and a net balance of 48% in the South West (down from 66% and 93% respectively six months ago).

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: "What we are really seeing is some of the very strong upward momentum starting to come off the housing market, as a lack of supply, higher prices, more prudent lending measures and some of the talk from the Bank of England are creating a level of caution among sellers and buyers…There is some evidence to suggest that the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) has contributed to a tightening of the funding market, although it is hard to disentangle this from other factors which are now impacting on the sector and to know whether it will simply be a temporary influence as lenders adjust to the new environment."

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