RICS: Stalemate in the housing market

Chartered surveyors report that because the market remains difficult to access, the only buyers who can really be considered serious are those who have already sold their property, or have a mortgage agreement in place.

New instructions, which had been stronger in April and May, fell back to a net balance of +1 per cent (from +14 per cent) in June, indicating that sellers are now holding off from putting their properties on the market. This was in part attributed to uncertainty over the economy and a ‘wait and see’ attitude from potential vendors.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given low demand and supply, overall activity levels barely changed in June. Newly agreed sales edged up marginally, with 6 per cent more surveyors reporting sales rose rather than fell (from 5 per cent more).

Meanwhile, the average number of completed sales per surveyor* in the three months to June failed to move, staying at just 14.8. Alongside this, the average number of stocks on surveyors’ books fell fractionally to 69.5 (from 71.7). Surveyors note that properties are still selling, but only if priced realistically.

House prices at a national level continued to slip during June, with 27 per cent more surveyors reporting price falls rather than rises – the negative net balance was little different from the previous month’s reading (-28 per cent). Looking ahead, expectations for future house prices showed a broadly similar pattern, with 27 per cent more respondents expecting prices to fall rather than rise over the next three months.

RICS housing spokesperson, Alan Collett said:

"The housing market was pretty flat during June. Buyer interest in purchasing property remains relatively low across much of the UK and the volume of new stock coming to the market has slackened. With continued uncertainty over the jobs market and the economy, this subdued picture is set to continue. London , however, remains a market apart with both sales and prices showing a greater degree of resilience.”

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