House prices, demand and supply slipping nationally – Rics

House prices, demand and supply slipping nationally – Rics

 

The Rics price indicator began falling nationally in October to hit its weakest reading since September 2012, with half of the UK regions’ price balances now flat or negative.

However, while overall national picture is becoming less positive, there are notable variations within the country.

London and the South East continued to drive the negative sentiment with East Anglia, the South West and the North East also seeing negative price balances.

In contrast prices continue to rise in other parts of the UK, with the strongest growth in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Three-month future price expectations remain slightly negative while the year ahead is predicted to be broadly flat.

Geographically a similar pattern persists with the North West joining the regions expecting positive growth in the coming year.

 

Falling buyer interest

Higher end properties, especially those above £1m, are often coming in around 10% below the asking price.

For properties listed at £500,000 and below a slim majority of participants reported sales prices have been at least level with asking prices, although one third stated sales prices were falling by up to 5%.

Rics said the weaker trend in prices was being driven by the lack of demand from new buyers.

This was in part a result of “heightened political uncertainty, ongoing affordability pressures, a modest upward move in interest rates and a lack of fresh stock coming onto the market”.

In October, 14% more respondents reported a fall in buyer interest – the third report in a row in which demand has deteriorated at a UK level.

 

Brexit dragging sentiment

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the downbeat news around the housing market was disproportionately reflecting developments in the south and east of England.

In contrast the picture remained more resilient in many other parts of the country.

“Uncertainty about the economic outlook on the back of the never-ending Brexit negotiations appears a key drag on sentiment according to respondents to the survey,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the announcement of the extension of Help to Buy, albeit in a narrower format, should continue to underpin the new build market in the near term.

“Whether it, alongside other measures recently announced including the lifting of the Housing Revenue Account cap, is sufficient to drive housing starts up to the government’s 300,000 target over the coming years remains to be seen,” he added.