Resumption of house slump no surprise

The resumption of the house price slump is not surprising, it has been asserted.

Commenting on figures released by Nationwide – which show house prices dropped again in April after a slight rise in March – the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) explained the fall was expected.

It commented the return of the downward trend is in line with the main indicators in its own monthly Housing Market Survey.

Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn suggested the market has yet to reach a trough, adding that the best indicator of prices is the sales to stock ratio – which has begun to edge upwards.

He predicted this indicates prices may begin to stabilise later in the year, although stated the weak economy posed a risk to the likelihood of this occurring.

"More positively, measures announced in the budget particularly on improving the flow of mortgage finance could help first time buyers to enter the market in a more meaningful way," he said.

The recent Budget announcement contained measures aimed at boosting both house prices and the economy.