House prices are falling even further but tight supply is limiting the extent, according to chartered surveyors in the West Midlands.
It is the ninth consecutive month of woe, according to the latest RICS housing market survey. Some 77 per cent of members say prices are on the slide, up two per cent from March.
However, the RICS says this is not as high as in other parts of the UK, showing the region is faring a little better and the price falls still relatively small at this stage.
Nineteen per cent of surveyors said prices stayed the same and, as in March, four per cent reported a rise.
Demand remains low in the region but the lack of new properties for sale is providing a crutch to the market.
"It is clear that price falls are being driven by the inability of many to secure finance rather than an influx of supply into the market through panic selling," notes the report.
"Large numbers of distress sales – either repossessions or sales from those attempting to avoid the repossession process – have not yet appeared in the market place and, while mortgage arrears remain low and the employment situation remains strong, the lack of supply will continue to prevent large declines."
Ben Hudson, RICS West Midlands spokesman and director of Greenhill & Brownfield, said: "Given the recent announcements by some plc housebuilders on the halting of building new homes, the supply of houses to the market will be further restricted in coming months and the Government's targets will not be met by some magnitude.
"This in turn will increase competition within the marketplace, so when buyers begin to return, and confidence grows, the cumulative affect will be a rapid price recovery.
"This could be bad news for those potential buyers who are waiting for more affordable prices, as they could be disappointed by the speed of the price recovery when it happens.
"The message to buyers being not to sit on theirs hands – make hay while the sun shines."
Nationally, 95.1 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise in house prices, an increase from 79.4 per cent in March.
The rest of the regional picture is even more depressed with surveyors in East Anglia, the North and North West unanimous that house prices are falling.
The net balance in Scotland turned negative where previously it was the only UK region where the majority of surveyors were reporting house price increases.
Demand continued to weaken as new buyer enquiries fell further – 68 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise, up from 51 per cent in January.
The average number of unsold stock on surveyors' books continues to edge down.
The ratio of completed sales compared to the stock of unsold property on the market fell to 21.1 per cent.
That figure was down from 24.6 per cent.