The sales market remained quiet with both enquiries and transactions little changed at the start of year during what is usually a busy period, while the rental market faces a lack of supply as landlords exit the market, says the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) property market survey.
Only five percent of its members reported an increase in demand for properties for sale, which is the weakest since last August, and the supply of fresh properties to the market reduced, RICS says.
Supply has been weakening over the past consecutive 11 months now and many of RICS’ agent members’ stocks are reaching historic lows.
Despite the worrying news, RICS says its agent members’ outlook was growing more positive about a bounce back as the year progresses, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland. RICS also says prices have been rising across the UK except in London, where they have been in ‘negative territory’ now for nearly a year.
In the rental market, the government’s unremittingly hostile measures are taking their toll and RICS says the flow of new landlord instructions ‘failed to improve’ for a fourth consecutive quarter.
RICS also says the imbalance between lowering supply and increasing demand for rental properties will push rents up this year and will increase rents by 25% over the next five years.
“A much quieter market during the run-up to and past Christmas resulted in lower levels of instructions and sales,” says RICS member agent Douglas Farmer of Hopes Estates in Wigton, Cumbria.
“However, the turn of year has seen more activity in both fields. Long may it continue [although] prices have to be sensible.”