RICS: Regional housing market stifled by uncertainty

House price inflation slowed further in June, according to the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey.

At the same time, there is little encouragement for sales activity with agreed sales declining alongside new buyer enquiries and new instructions.

In additional questions asked this month, respondents cited domestic political uncertainty and Brexit as the biggest influences for subdued activity.

This is a continuation of subdued picture reported over recent months in the East Midlands housing market, with new buyer enquiries, new instructions and newly agreed sales remaining in negative territory.

Prices also continue to rise yet near term expectations see them rise at a slower rate than the start of the year.

The main findings were:

  • Respondents from the East Midlands expect little change in sales activity over the coming three months with only 3% more chartered surveyors reporting a rise instead of a fall.
  • Lack of new instructions continues to drive prices in the East Midlands with 3% of chartered surveyors reporting a fall in new properties coming onto the market.
  • Average stock currently on agents’ books lies at record low with agents holding on average 53 properties.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The latest results demonstrate the danger, however tempting, of talking about a single housing market across the country.

“RICS indicators particularly regarding the price trend are pointing towards an increasingly divergent picture. High end prime properties may be seeing prices slipping back but, for good or ill, prices are continuing to move higher in many other segments of the market. Indeed, the disaggregated data suggests that this will continue to be the case over the coming months.

“Perhaps not surprisingly in the current environment, the term ‘uncertainty’ is featuring more heavily in the feedback we are receiving from professionals working in the sector.

“This seems to be exerting itself on transaction levels which are flatlining and may continue to do so for a while particularly given ongoing challenge presented by the low level of stock on the market.”