RICS has reported an ailing sales market within its latest survey of agent sentiment, which each month is carried out among its members across UK.
In an unusually forthright report, the figures for March have prompted it to use strong language to describe the UK sales market, including “stagnant” and “waning interest”.
RICS reveals that new buyer enquiries and sales remained flat and stock levels hit a new record low “as the number of properties coming on to the market continues to decline”, the report says.
“The key theme that really runs through the whole of this survey is the lack of supply in the market,” says Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist (picture, left)
“Our key measures – average stock per surveyor – has actually hit a new low, and this explains why house prices on balance remain in modestly positive territory.
For the time being it is hard to see any major impetus for change in the market, something also being reflected in the flat trend in transaction levels.”
RICS says new instruction dropped during March with 13% more respondents experiencing a drop in new listings, and agents now hold 43 properties for sale on their books, on average.
Some 3% more respondents saw a drop in the number of agreed sales although this problem was restricted to England – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respondents saw sales agreed picking up.
Lettings doing better
But RICS reveals that the lettings market is an entirely different picture. 11% more of its respondents reported increasing tenant demand, although landlord instruction remained weak, as they have done over the past six months, RICS says.
“Contributors anticipate further growth in rents in virtually all areas over the next twelve months with the exception of the capital, where rents are anticipated to continue to decline over the near term,” the report says.
Commenting on the RICS figures, Stephen Wasserman, Managing Director of West One Loans, says: “Despite a challenging period of economic turbulence, over the next few months we predict that house prices and lettings activity will pick up again.
“In large part, this is because the chasm between supply and demand persists and cannot be quickly fixed. In this climate, speed is of the essence and we’re seeing increasing interest from landlords and developers who are seeking out the flexible financing options needed to compete. Bridging is entering the mainstream as a favoured option for those who are needing to prop up chains, complete in just a matter of days or secure auction purchases.”