Political and economic uncertainty caused by the upcoming EU referendum is beginning to hit the housing market according to two different reports.
One, by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, says price growth is set to slow down as “a climate of uncertainty” overshadows the market.
“Elections inevitably bring with them periods of uncertainty in the market and our figures would suggest that May’s devolved elections are no exception. Likewise, the EU referendum is likely to be an influence in terms of the damper outlook for London in particular” explains Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.
In London - where the uncertainty is magnified by the Mayoral election - the institution says 38 per cent more surveyors say prices will drop rather than increase over the next three months.
Meanwhile even auctioneers, who tend to deal in residential property priced at the lower end of the market, are warning that Brexit uncertainty is creeping in.
Like estate agents, auctioneers have until recently enjoyed near-record transaction levels ahead of the stamp duty surcharge deadline on April 1.
Auction House, for example, has recorded the highest performing first quarter in its nine year history. Between January and March it sold 729 lots from 939 offered – that’s 14.3 per cent up on 2015 volumes and representing a success rate of 77.6 per cent, and raising a total of £92.2m.
Auction House is also reporting that entries for its April auctions are at a similar level to last year, but that viewer activity has dropped back – something the group puts down to buyer hesitancy as the stamp duty rise and the upcoming Brexit vote take hold.
“The property market never likes uncertainty and the reduced demand means that more bargains could be found around the country in our auctions during April, May and early June” according to the firm’s founding director Roger Lake.
He says he is witnessing a growing number of first time and family buyers purchasing for owner occupation - not the traditional profile of an auction purchaser.