The latest snapshot from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors shows that the UK housing market is still on hold, pending the result of today’s General Election.
Demand from prospective buyers, new instructions to sell, and sales, all remain in negative territory, as the latest market report indicates that persistent economic and political uncertainty is deterring both purchasers and vendors.
RICS says new buyer enquiries slipped for the third month in a row in November as nine per cent more respondents saw a decline in enquiries rather than a rise. This was seen both at a headline level and across all UK regions.
Newly Agreed Sales also saw a fall, although at a slower pace. And new instructions to sell also continued to dip at the national level and, in light of this, average stock levels on estate agents’ books remain close to record lows at approximately 41 properties per branch.
But RICS says change is expected after we know the election result, with sales expectations over the next three months looking more stable (a net balance of 11 per cent, up from just five per cent a month ago).
Looking at regions individually, a solid increase in transactions over the next 12 months is expected across virtually all areas covered by this survey.
Prices are also expected to pick up over the next 12 months on a headline level, with 33 per cent more respondents in the November survey anticipating house prices will rise rather than fall in 2020. This applies to all areas of the UK with Wales and Northern Ireland leading the way.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, says: “Confidence is critical to a well-functioning housing market and whatever happens in the General Election today, it is important that the new government provides reassurance both over the stewardship of the economy and the ongoing challenges around Brexit which continues to highlighted in a disproportionate number of remarks made by respondents to the RICS survey.”
He continues: ”Significantly despite the inevitable near term concerns, the feedback regarding the medium term view of the market remains surprisingly sanguine with the 12 month sales expectations indicator at its best level since the early part of 2017.”