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Property stock levels at record low, say surveyors

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

There is now an acute shortage of property for sale, with average stock levels on agents’ books falling again, after recovering slightly at the start of the year, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

In fact, the flow of new sales listings coming to the market has contracted at the fastest monthly pace on record in each of the last three months. With supply at or around record lows in most parts of the UK, RICS said that ‘lack of choice may weigh further on activity going forward’.

Alongside this, new buyer enquiries, and agreed sales are also down, plus national (near term) house price expectations remained in negative territory for a third month in succession – the longest streak of negative readings since 2012.

But it’s not all bad news.

Long-term outlook improves

As the dust settles on the EU referendum vote, forward-looking indicators are now a little less gloomy, with 12-month price and sales projections edging back into positive territory in the latest results.

And surveyors continue to report hugely varying conditions up and down the countr,y with some suggesting activity has returned to normal, while others feel Brexit has only had a very modest or negligible impact.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The rebound in the key 12-month indicators in the July survey suggest that confidence remains more resilient than might have been anticipated.

“Critically, it is hard to escape the stark message regarding supply that is evident in the latest set of results, showing inventories on agent’s books around historic lows on average. This is a long running story that may have been exacerbated by recent events but clearly needs urgent action from the new government.”