Housing market stagnates as homes take longer to sell
Reduced lending and declining consumer confidence has resulted in a stagnation of the housing market, property experts claim.
This stagnation has been caused ultimately by "ongoing economic instability" according to Peter Bolton King of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Speaking to bbc.co.uk, Mr Bolton King said that the reluctance of banks to provide "affordable mortgage products" combined with consumer hesitation is also causing house sales to take longer to go through.
To illustrate the point, during the last quarter RICS had sold just 23 per cent of the properties listed with them, yet in the same period in 2007 had sold 41 per cent.
Such delays may have further prompted many home-hunters to use the services of online letting agents, renting a house or flat instead of taking a first step onto the property ladder. Demand remains strong in the rental sector and use of comprehensive online services enable people to find desirable lets easily and arrange to view quickly.
Explaining the stagnation further, mortgage broker Mark Harris told independent.co.uk: "The number of transactions has slumped as wider economic uncertainty means buyers and sellers alike adopt a 'wait and see' approach."
The outlook is not rosy, according to other industry experts who believe that the current market is 'likely to be the norm for the foreseeable future'. However, Mr Bolton King did offer a glimmer of hope, saying that "a gradual stability is returning to the market and surveyors expect transaction levels to increase over coming months."