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UK house price balance hits 11-month low in June-RICS

LONDON: Weaker demand and increasing supply cooled British house price growth last month and pushed future price expectations to their lowest in more than a year, a survey showed on Tuesday, July 13.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS) house price balance -- the difference between the percentage of surveyors reporting price rises and price falls -- fell to +9 in June from +21 in May.

That was the lowest seasonally adjusted reading since July 2009 and less than half the consensus forecast of +20. May's balance was originally reported as +22. Buyer interest fell for the first time since the start of the year while property coming on the market increased at its fastest pace since May 2007.

The surveyors' group said one of the factors driving the increase in selling instructions was a reduction in the amount leg-work needed to market a property.

One of the coalition government's first acts was to remove the requirement for sellers to provide 'homebuyer information packs', which provided legal details about a property.

The price expectations balance to -4, down from +4 in May and its lowest level since May 2009.

"On the back of the shift in the demand/supply balance and the drop in the sales to stock ratio it is not surprising that price expectations turned slightly negative," the survey noted.

The survey showed sharpening regional disparities with Scotland and London reporting the fastest price rises. Northern Ireland and the West Midlands reported the biggest price falls.

British house prices have rebounded by around 10% over the past year, after sliding by as much as 20% since a peak in late 2007. -- Reuters
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