RICS Survey indicates market slowdown

October saw the market begin to slow as sales trends were reportedly subdued across the majority of the UK.

The results of the October 2017 RICS UK Residential Market Survey indicate a slight decline in both sales and demand, with the figures in most regions having fallen or remaining unchanged. This trend is anticipated to continue, with near-term indicators showing this as the near-term outlook.

Last month, the national price net balance was recorded at 1%, softening from 6% in both August and September. Whilst this figure mirrors the national price trend, it’s important to acknowledge the regional fluctuation. For example, those in London highlighted a net balance of -63%, the weakest reading in 8 years. Although East Anglia and the North East showed a more positive picture, the figures were still in negative territory. At the other end of the spectrum, the North West, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all showed much stronger readings, reflecting the uplift in house prices across these areas.

Continuing the trend observed over the past two months, the headlines near term price expectations continued to fall, dropping from -8% to -11% month-on-month. Though the most apprehensive respondents were those in London, the sentiment was also somewhat negative in five additional regions across the country. However, the longer term outlook was more positive, with the majority of regions predicting to see a growth in prices by next year.

Market variations were revealed when respondents were required to compare asking prices to sales prices, particularly where homes were prices at the higher end of the spectrum. For those marketed in excess of £1 million, just under three-quarters of contributors stated that the accepted price was below the original figure.

At 62%, this proportion was only slightly lower for homes marketed between £0.5 million and £1 million. This dropped to 32% for those listed at under £0.5 million.

Where activity is concerned, a decline in demand was indicated by the New Buyer Enquiries series; nationally, the net balance for October was recorded at -20%. Similarly, there was a reported fall – as opposed to a rise – in agreed sales, with 20% claiming this was the case. In fact, the only areas which reported an uplift last month were the North East, Scotland and Wales.

In the near term, respondents across most regions predict minimal change in sales figures, with the longer term outlook moving toward this view. Regionally speaking, however, the predictions for Northern Ireland and Scotland respondents remained reasonably positive.

The full report can be accessed here.

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