October 11, 2011 / 5:46 AM / 8 years ago

House prices keep falling

A man walks past a house for sale in Coalville, central England February 17, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Staples

LONDON (Reuters) - House prices in England and Wales continued to fall in September and the number of sales declined for the first time since January, a survey showed on Tuesday, providing further evidence of a weak housing market.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ seasonally adjusted house price balance held steady at -23 in September, slightly above analysts’ expectations for a decline to -24.

The trade body said the housing market remained flat, and that homeowners were reluctant to sell because of worries about the economic outlook. Still, it reckoned that the fresh injection of stimulus announced by the Bank of England last week should help keep mortgage rates low.

“This, if nothing else, should ease the pressure on existing homeowners and limit the risk of a material pick-up in repossessions,” said RICS spokesman Michael Newey.

The survey showed that new buyer enquiries rose slightly in September, with a balance of +3 compared with -2 in August. However, new vendor instructions fell to -5 from -1.

The balance for newly agreed sales fell to -4 from +2 in August, the first decline since January, and the average number of properties on suveyors’ books rose by 3 percent to 68.9.

RICS said its members expected house prices to continue to fall in the next three months, with a balance of -23 and sales were seen easing back slightly.

Reporting by Fiona Shaikh; Editing by Toby Chopra

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