The October 2019 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey of 345 respondents also showed a drop in new sales, with 19 per cent saying they had seen a decrease. However, this was improved compared to September when 27 per cent of respondents had reported a decline in new residential sales.
Over the month, new sales dropped across all regions except Northern Ireland which recorded a 10 per cent increase.
The average time taken to complete a sale was 17 weeks, a slight improvement on the 19-week duration reported earlier in the year.
The number of new homes brought to market also fell in October, making it the fourth consecutive month respondents had reportedly seen a drop. Furthermore, 49 per cent said there was a year-on-year decline in market appraisals during the month.
House prices remained broadly flat according to RICS with respondents in London, the South East, East Anglia and the North East reporting declines, while respondents in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales noted rises.
Rental tenant demand grows
With regard to lettings, the survey suggested 22 per cent saw an increase in tenant demand in the three months to October. However, landlord instructions continued on a three-year decline, with all regions seeing a drop except East Anglia.
Because of this, rental growth expectations for the near term strengthened, with every UK region projected to see an increase in rents over the coming three months.
Politics taking hold
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The latest survey feedback continues to suggest that both buyer and seller activity remains in a holding pattern, hampered by political and economic uncertainty.
“Given the upcoming general election next month, it appears unlikely that these trends will pick-up to any meaningful extent over the remainder of this year.”
Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, added: “Of course, buyers and sellers will now sit tight until the dust has settled on next month’s election and this will ensure that the story that we’ve heard time and time again will be told some more until we ring in the new year.
“At which point we cross our fingers and hope to turn a new page so that we have something else to talk about.”