Latest RICS survey confirms UK price growth slowdown

Taylor Scott International News

UK house price growth, especially in London, is slowing after the historic vote to leave the European Union, according to the latest data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The monthly report from RICS posted the lowest survey reading in three years in July. Just 5% more respondents nationally saw a rise rather than fall in prices, down from 15% the previous month. This downward trend that is evident across the UK and the London price indicator remains more downbeat with net balance of -33% which is broadly consistent with an outright drop in prices in the capital but not quite as sharp as that reported in June. The report also says that as price growth slows for now, near term price expectations across the UK were negative for the third month in succession with 12% more respondents predicting a decline in house prices over the next three months. It is the longest stretch of negative readings since 2012. As activity falters, interest from new buyers in the UK also continues to wane, with the results showing a fourth consecutive month of falling demand to a net balance of -27. Notwithstanding the potential for near term weakness, respondents are slightly more optimistic about the 12 month outlook, upgrading their estimates for price growth relative to June. The latest data shows the net balance of those expecting prices to increase over the year ahead rising from zero to 23% but this still represents a significant softening compared to six months ago, when 66% more surveyors anticipated rising prices. For the second month running, the regional breakdown shows London and East Anglia are the only areas in which prices are expected to fall over the year ahead. Nonetheless, London exhibits amongst the strongest projections over the medium term three month average, with respondents pencilling in around 4% growth, per annum, over the next five years. On the same basis, prices are expected to rise by close to 3% nationally. The report also points out that the acute shortage of property for sale appears to be providing some underpinning for prices at present. Indeed, after staging a mild recovery through the early months of 2016, average stock levels on agents’ books have since started to fall again. 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 reports. With supply at or around record lows in most parts of the UK, lack of choice may weigh further on activity going forward. New buyer enquiries declined markedly at the headline level during July, the fourth consecutive month of falling demand. This weakness was widespread, with virtually all areas of the UK experiencing a dip in demand during July. In keeping with the deteriorating demand backdrop, sales volumes declined sharply and at the national level, a net balance of 34% more respondents reported a fall in sales… Taylor Scott International

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