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House prices, agreed sales and the number of buyers and sellers all fell in January

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

The housing market slowdown is apparent, but how long will it last?

Sales and house prices continued to decline in January, according to the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors.

In its January Residential Report, RICS noted that buyer enquiries, agreed sales and new instructions all remain on a downward trend.

Surveyors said they expect this pattern to remain in place for a while longer ‘as the market adjusts to higher interest rates in the UK’.

Demand is down, with a fall in new buyer enquiries, and respondents also noted a pull-back in the volume of fresh listings coming onto the sales market.

The latest feedback from surveyors on national house prices points to another monthly decline, said RICS, with all regions of England seeing house prices retreat.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: “Although some respondents to the January RICS survey have noted a little more interest in the housing market as the new year got underway, the overall tone of the feedback still remains subdued which is not altogether surprising given the jump in mortgage rates since the autumn.

“Prices, meanwhile, are now beginning to reflect the shift in balance between demand and supply.”

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “January was deathly for the property market. Despite falling mortgage rates, buyers and sellers gave up the ghost, with buyer numbers continuing to fade for the ninth month in a row. Meanwhile, house prices declined for the fourth consecutive month – and the proportion of agents reporting house price falls rose again.

“Estate agents aren’t convinced the picture will change in a hurry. They expect the market to stay quiet and for prices to keep declining, as buyers get to grips with higher mortgage rates and the prospect of a falling market.”