Experts Feel Less Despondent About Flat Property Market

The property market remains stagnant as buyer enquiries remain poor and new instructions continue to decline.

In March, enquiries for new buyers entering the property market yielded a respondent net balance of -27% which remained unchanged in April and May. Whilst the number of new buyers looking to purchase property is not reducing, the figures suggest that the market is still struggling to convince people to buy property amidst such political uncertainty.

In terms of new stock entering the property market, the picture is slightly less rosy as the research continues to indicate a negative net balance response for the eleventh consecutive month. However, the -11% net balance for new instructions in May is a significant improvement on the -34% recorded in April.

The lack of buyers declaring a formal interest and a reduced housing stock is continuing to influence surveyors into remaining sceptical about the improvement of near term price expectations. Whilst May’s -14% net balance has improved from April’s -18%, the majority of respondents expect property prices, at least in the short-term, to fall.

Based on a 12-month outlook, +22% believe that property prices will improve once the UK becomes more aware of its relationship with the EU. Again, this is an improvement on the +13% feeling optimistic of the long-term property market in April.

Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, comments:

“The latest RICS UK Residential Survey results point to overall market trends remaining stagnant, with indicators on demand, supply and prices all falling within negative territory, albeit less so than previously.

“Consumer confidence has been consistently subdued as uncertainty sweeps the UK. As a result, there are few signs of an increase in buyer enquiries in the immediate future, despite wage growth and high employment. Expectations for the longer term are rosier and point to a gradual improvement in activity over the next twelve months.

“The slowdown we have experienced is reflective of a dampening of overall activity seen in the conveyancing market. We found that the total number of active conveyancers in England and Wales has dipped below 4,000 for the first time on record. Further, total conveyancing activity is down 6% annually.

“During the lull in property activity, we encourage property professionals to pause and take stock of the current landscape. High growth companies are developing innovative and efficient tools that are designed to smooth out inefficiencies and transform the transaction process.

“Forward-looking firms are planning on taking advantage of the quiet market to ride the wave of digitalisation.”

Have you noticed a marginal improvement in the property market? Are buyers and sellers reigniting their interest or is Brexit still a concern?

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