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LONDON-There’s a moderate slowdown in the housing market, with a fall in the number of estate agents reporting price rises in September. Early figures from the next monthly housing survey, conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, shows that the percentage difference between those reporting price rises over those reporting falls dropped to 36%, down from 49% in August, and the lowest figure since February 2001.

The modest fall-off in buyer enquiries reported last month looks set to continue in September, and agents expect this softer trend to be sustained in the months ahead.

RICS chief economist Milan Khatri said: ‘We have been forecasting a gradual decline in the housing market and it now looks to be underway. The terrorist attack on September 11 has undoubtedly had an effect on the market in the short term, with a fall off in buyer enquiries in recent weeks, but the greatest influence on the housing market is the deteriorating economic outlook.

‘Low and falling interest rates will support the market, but international uncertainty means that recovery in UK growth could be delayed until the middle of next year or even later.’ The full survey is due out on October 23.

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