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Brexit bearing down hard on housing market, says RICS

Gloomiest monthly report on housing market from RICS for some months points to instructions and buyer enquiries in alarming decline among its members.

Nigel Lewis

In November the number of new sales listings coming on to the market fell at the fastest pace in over two years while the average estate agent stock level remains at a record low of 42 properties, says the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Brexit uncertainty and a lack of supply in the market are the main reasons for the current problems being experienced by its members, although among comments submitted by agents alongside the report, 70 out of 135 of them highlight Brexit-related problems.

“I can’t recall a previous survey when a single issue has been highlighted by quite so many contributors,” says Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist at RICS (pictured, above).

His survey features few nuggets of hope for the industry, revealing an overall weaker trend in the sales market both for supply and demand when compared to last month.

Weakening sales

It also expects the sales market to weaken in the coming three months, although it says prices are continuing to rise and a more stable market is expected later this year.

Nevertheless new buyer enquiries weakened last month, as did new instructions, while the time it takes to sell a property stands at 19 weeks, the highest figures since February last year.

Using its ‘net balance’ sentiment system which subtracts the average negative sentiment from the positive figure, RICs says the sales expectation figure is now -23%, down from -6% in October.

In the lettings market, demand remains steady but new landlord instruction are declining.

Mark Readings image“Faced with a no-deal Brexit scenario, we have ended up with a no-deal housing market. House prices are continued to be pulled down by London and the South East, as both buyers and sellers are waiting for the Brexit outcome, particularly in the capital,” says Mark Readings, founder of House Network (left).

“Although political uncertainty continues to be the driving force behind a high majority of serious buyers and sellers remaining on the fence, the economic fundamentals for first-time buyers are strong as help-to-buy and low mortgage rates contribute to providing affordability outside of the capital.”


December 13, 2018

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