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U.K. House-Price Gauge Declines as Demand Weakens, RICS Says

A U.K. house-price gauge declined in November, remaining around a level indicating “broadly flat” values, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said.

The index slipped to minus 9 from minus 7 in October, London-based RICS said in an e-mailed report today, citing a monthly poll of property surveyors. A result below zero means more of them saw values drop than increase last month. A measure of new buyer inquiries fell to 11 from 17.

The Bank of England introduced its Funding for Lending Scheme in August to help boost credit and support the economy. Home-loan approvals rose in October and Deputy Governor Charlie Bean said last month that initial indications are that the FLS program is feeding through more quickly into mortgage lending.

“We expect the U.K. housing market to move sideways rather than collapsing going into 2013,” said Annalisa Piazza, an analyst at Newedge Group in London. “Tight housing supply and the effects of accommodative monetary policy should help to support housing activity in the first half of 2013 and a modest recovery in prices is expected in the second half.”

RICS’s gauge of newly agreed sales declined to 6 from 19 in October. The three-month price-expectations balance fell to minus 6 from minus 3, while the 12-month price expectations index dropped to minus 7 from minus 3.

Separate data from the Financial Services Authority showed new mortgage advances rose 7 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months, though they were down 9 percent on the same period a year earlier.

The FSA also said more mortgage holders fell into arrears in the third quarter, with the number of new cases rising by 35,900. The total number of loans in arrears increased 2 percent from second quarter to 303,200 and was down 7 percent from a year earlier.

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