London's housing market has experienced its worst month in nearly a decade, with surveyors expecting prices to drop even further over the next year.
A highly-regarded survey published this morning reveals that 65 per cent more property surveyors saw London prices fall during April rather than rise, the weakest reading since February 2009.
Sinking prices were also reported elsewhere in the south east, outside London.
The report, published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), follows a number of other surveys to have reflected falling demand and declining prices in the capital this year.
Official figures show London's house prices down in nominal terms compared to July 2016 in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. And prices could drop further in the next 12 months, according to Rics. “Expectations remain downbeat in London, with 20 per cent more respondents predicting a further decline over the year to come,” the report says.
Nationally, Rics' price balance also fell, down eight per cent in April. However, Rics said that this number was heavily weighed down by the drop in the London market.
Rics' figures come in the wake of data from Halifax released on Tuesday which showed that UK house prices fell over three per cent in April, following a 1.6 per cent rise in March.
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and former Rics residential chairman, said: “These figures are even more concerning than the Halifax numbers which were released earlier this week because they are more current and refer to the whole market rather than just a particular lender’s customers.
“Rics has always been one of the most reliable lead indicators of market trends so it looks like we are in for a fairly rough ride. Spring is supposed to be the busiest time of year for moving house and usually sets out the stall for the rest of the year.”
Becky Fatemi from estate agents Rokstone said that despite the drop in prices, a crash isn’t in the picture.
“Is it difficult time? Yes it is. Is the market volatile? Yes it is,” said Fatemi. “There is a cooling. But is it crashing? No. What you might perceive as prices crashing is only prices slowing down. But it’s not panic stations yet.”
Mark Readings, CEO of online property group House Network, said it is “a great time for buyers as both house prices and mortgage rates remain low.” Recent lending data has shown an increase in the number of first-time buyers getting on the ladder.