UK property market lacking momentum

The current property market is lacking momentum at a national level, according to a recent report.

The latest RICS Residential Market Survey also predicts that this subdued picture is likely to persist over the coming months.

The headline findings in the report indicate that:

  • Both buyer enquiries and sales fell noticeably over the previous month (September)
  • The national price balance was still marginally positive, but London and the South East returned weaker readings
  • Expectations point to a subdued near-term outlook for both prices and sales.

Feedback also indicates that a recent shift in interest rate expectations could be contributing to a more cautious tone in market outlook.

Outside of London and the South East, East Anglia and the North East posted modestly negative readings for house price inflation. However, in other areas of the UK, price growth remains relatively robust. In particular, Wales, the North West of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all seen prices rise over the period. Looking forward over the near term, Northern Ireland and Scotland are now the only two areas where respondents are confident that prices will meaningfully rise.

Despite this, when looking over the longer-term, contributors do expect prices to increase in all areas over the next 12 months, with London the sole exception. Indeed the London property market is now “more downbeat than at any other point since this series was introduced in 2010”.

Focusing on market activity, the survey found that buyer enquiries declined during September. However, new instructions to sell remained stable for the second month in a row, despite having dropped continuously over the past eighteen months.

With regard to transactions in September, while London and the South East saw the worst decline, weakness was widespread with all areas of the UK showing either a flat or negative trend. The average time taken from listing to completion across the UK also lengthened from 17 to 18 weeks.

Looking forward over the next three months, it is expected that there will be little change in terms sales activity. Despite relative optimism in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the twelve-month outlook is also flat at a national level.

Today's Conveyancer