Brexit caution from buyers and sellers in September

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

Surveyors are feeling more pessimistic about house price prospects and sales volumes in the year ahead

New homebuyers are getting cold feet according to a leading body of surveyors, and sales of homes could fall as a result of their caution.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors latest monthly UK Residential Market Survey painted a pessimistic picture.

Demand from new buyers nationally weakened slightly in September for the second successive month, making the forward-looking sales indicators also turn a little more pessimistic. Surveyors put this down to a mixture of affordability constraints, a lack of stock, economic uncertainty and interest rate rises holding back buyers.

Supply down

The volume of new sales coming to the market also fell for a second month running. Unsurprisingly, this leaves average stock levels on estate agents’ books close to record low levels, with limited choice likely one factor hampering demand.

House prices remained more or less unchanged at the national level in September, the fifth month where respondents, nationally, have reported little change in house prices.

Respondents in London continue to report the steepest fall in house prices on a regional comparison, whilst the South East and East Anglia deteriorated a little further in September. Elsewhere house prices continue to rise firmly, with the West Midlands, Northern Ireland and Scotland posting the strongest growth.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “There are a number of themes running through the comments of respondents this month but uncertainty relating to Brexit negotiations is at the very top of the list followed by references to the confidential remarks made by the Bank of England Governor to the cabinet.

“All of this is not surprisingly taking its toll on the sales market with the key activity indicator in the survey flat or slightly negative in all parts of the country apart from Northern Ireland and Wales.”