Here we go again – it’s that time of the month, when the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) publishes the results of its latest survey, when it asks members whether house prices are up or down.

It takes the difference between the percentage number of those who said house prices were up, and the percent of those who said they were down, and, after its team of analysts have made some swift shuffling with their abacus beads, announces the RICS index.

It’s a good barometer index – and seemed to signpost the 2004 and 2005 downturn, going negative several months before the likes of the Nationwide and Halifax reported falls in prices.

The index then went positive again in November last year, pre-empting the 2006 recovery. Ever since, the RICS index has climbed until it hit 47.7 in October, the highest level we have recorded since May 2004. Now the score for November is out- the index is down – but only by 0.3 percent to 47.4.
RICS spokesman, Jeremy Leaf, said: “Strong employment conditions and a robust economy continue to shield the market from any dip. A further interest-rate rise in the New Year may have a mid-term effect. We expect house prices to rise by 7 percent following a 9 percent jump in 2006.’‘

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