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Buyer enquiries and sales now flatter than any time since Brexit vote

The latest RICS market survey shows that buyer enquiries and transactions slipped back last month with expectations pointing to “a subdued near term outlook for both prices and sales.”

in September, 20 per cent more members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who responded to the organisation’s survey reported a fall rather than rise in demand from would-be buyers, extending the run of negative readings into a sixth month.

Alongside this, 15 per cent more respondents reported a fall in agreed sales rather than a rise which is the lowest since July 2016.

RICS says that when broken down regionally, London and the South East were at the forefront of the decline in sales, but weakness in transactions was widespread during September. Only Wales and the South West were cited to have seen an increase in sales, while all other parts of the UK saw sales flat.

Looking ahead over the next three months, there is little change anticipated in national sales activity, says the institution.

As sales and new buyers decline, new instructions to sell were roughly stable for the second report running, having declined continuously for the past 18 months. Consequently, average stock levels on estate agents books held broadly steady - albeit near record lows - at 43.3.

Prices also held steady in September at the national level, with six per cent more respondents seeing a rise in prices demonstrating a marginal increase. Across the regions, London remains firmly negative, while the price balance in the South East also remains negative - but to a lesser extent than London - for a fourth consecutive month. 

Both of these regions continue to display the highest proportion of respondents viewing the market to be overpriced, compared to all other parts of the UK.

“The stark divergence in key readings from the latest  survey demonstrates in the clearest possible terms just how important the regional narrative is at the present time” says Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist.

“In part, this is a reflection of affordability constraints hitting the higher priced segments of the market. It is perhaps also indicative of a shift in economic momentum in the face of the increasing possibility of the first hike in base rates in over 10 years” he adds.

“That said, we are continuing to see evidence of shortage of stock both in the new build and second hand market. And despite the announcements at the recent Conservative Party conference, it is hard to envisage this changing any time soon.”

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    • Mr P
    • 12 October 2017 08:59 AM

    Interesting.....Also interesting that so many agents don’t respond to web enquiries through major portals like Zoopla and Rightmove or return calls to view properties. If the information in this article is correct then surely agents would be doing everything they could to make and maintain contact with serious buyers, get properties sold and earn their commission! Unfortunately once you have the agents attention you just get bombarded with emails about unsuitable properties. You can always tell when the agent has nothing to do as they send you 50 emails one after the other with their entire property stock. I even had a text from a well know agent (C&W) asking me to call them about a property. Wtf! Why am I having to call you...in the time it takes to text me you could have called me. This just solidifies the fact that most agents are lazy and unless it’s handed to them on a silver platter then they simply cannot be bothered! I used to be an agent and I personally didn’t sell 10 plus properties a month sitting on my backside punting out random emails. Pick up the phone speak to buyers who want to buy, use your sales skills to encourage the other potential buyers to view, make some sales and articles like this will be a thing of the past.

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