The latest data and analysis from RICS has shown that the UK’s housing market remains stagnant with surveyors suggesting the lack of momentum will continue as long as there is political uncertainty.
According to this morning’s report, demand for housing remained negative for the eighth successive month in March, albeit slightly less so than previously.
The data revealed that the slowdown is no longer localised with falls in demand of some extent now being seen across all parts of the UK. The decline in buyer appetite is also weighing on sales, with respondents citing a fall at the headline level. The ongoing decline in new instructions being listed for sale has also intensified, with supply becoming progressively weaker over the past four months.
Looking ahead, near term sales expectations remained broadly stable compared to last month, as respondents envisage transaction volumes dwindling somewhat further through to July.
London and the South East continue to display the weakest sentiment regarding house price movements on a regional comparison, while feedback across the South West also remains subdued. Scotland and Northern Ireland are the only parts of the UK to have seen sustained price growth over the past two months.
Notwithstanding this, at the national level, 15% more respondents anticipate house prices will be higher in twelve months time, the strongest reading since August 2018. Prices are also expected to return to growth across most areas over the coming twelve months, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales leading the way in terms of projections.
London and the South East are the only areas where contributors expect prices to continue falling over the year ahead.
Beyond then, there is a little more optimism, with sales still anticipated to rise over the coming twelve months, although expectations were trimmed slightly relative to the February results.
Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau said, “Whilst the current political uncertainty still casts a shadow over the near-term expectations of the market, it would appear that many surveyors believe that the twelve-month view will bring an improvement. As is always the case, sentiment fuels markets and therefore once clarity around the UK’s departure from the European Union is reached, a number of RICS members appear to believe that the current market stagnation will ease.
“Meanwhile, mortgages remain highly competitive as many lenders continue to review their pricing in order to tempt new customers onto their books. This is providing those who are currently purchasing with the opportunity to secure a mortgage at or close to historically low rates, therefore helping to support the market in areas which are more active.”