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Property sales expectations hit lowest level since Brexit vote

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Buyers and sellers are exercising caution as Brexit uncertainty escalates

Property sellers and buyers were sitting tight in November due to Brexit uncertainty, with sales expectations for the coming three months hitting the lowest level since the EU referendum result, data has shown.

The number of people looking for a new home fell in November, according to the latest report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The number of new properties being listed for sale fell for the fifth consecutive report, marking the fastest pace of decline in supply noted in twenty-eight months.

The November report showed that, not only did agreed sales fall in November, but for the next three months the sales predictions are also down.

Regional overview

By region, the picture remains varied, with house prices falling most notably in London, South East and East Anglia, while the South West, East Midlands and North East were broadly flat.

However, rises were seen in Northern Ireland, Scotland, West Midlands, Wales, Yorkshire & Humber and the North West.

In the lettings market, demand from prospective tenants held steady.

However, the number of new instructions continued to fall, signalling a continued decline in the supply of fresh rental stock. As a result, rents are expected to rise modestly over both three- and 12-month horizons.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said the ongoing uncertainties surrounding how the Brexit process played out was taking its toll on the housing market.

He added: “Caution is visible among both buyers and vendors and where deals are being done, they are taking longer to get over the line. Significantly the forward-looking indicators reflect the suspicion that the political machinations are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

“The bigger risk is that this now spills over into development plans making it even harder to secure the uplift in the building pipeline to address the housing crisis.”