House sellers 'need to adjust their sights'
The housing market in the South West is poised to end the year on a "positive note" if sellers drop their prices, according to industry experts.
New figures released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) indicate the market should see a slightly stronger finish to the year with sales expected to pick up.
RICS said during September, members' expectations of future sales reached their highest level since August last year with a net balance of 36% more South West respondents predicting transactions to rise in the final three months of the year.
However, last month house prices in the region remained unchanged with 30% more surveyors reporting falls rather than rises.
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Demand from house-hunters remained stable with 4% more surveyors across the area seeing increases rather than decreases in new buyer enquiries.
Interest from potential buyers has not seen any significant growth since summer last year, according to RICS.
The amount of homes coming onto the market throughout last month remained low, as 1% more respondents claimed that supply had risen rather than fallen.
Roger Punch, RICS residential spokesman for the South West, said pricing was key to getting the housing market moving.
Mr Punch, who runs the Plymouth office of estate agents Stags, said: "More than ever this autumn, keen pricing is the key to selling.
"There are, as ever, quite marked regional variations in activity across the South West, but the viewing rate is fair and there are good buyers available – provided that sellers adjust their sights to the currently achievable price levels."
RICS said the predicted up-turn was largely due to the expectations of greater mortgage availability on the back of recent Government initiatives.
Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: "Unrealistic expectations on the part of vendors seem to be stalling the transaction process.
"Meanwhile, although the funding for lending schemes appears to be improving mortgage availability, those at the very bottom of the housing ladder are still struggling."