A gloomy year-end report from RICS blames the Brexit impasse for residential property market blues continuing, a dark cloud hanging over estate agents, letting agents and landlords.
The results of the December 2018 RICS UK Residential Market Survey show the year ending on a “weak note”, with key activity indicators continuing to slip below the headline level.
Political uncertainty is increasingly being cited as a constraint on the market, alongside the well-established challenges around affordability, a lack of stock available for purchase and lettings, and the increasing tax and regulatory burden on landlords.
Property stock is down in both lettings and sales, and sales enquiries, agreed sales, and new instructions all declined in December. New instructions have been and remain in negative territory having declined in 19 of previous 24 months
Despite all of this, there is no sign of an improvement in the immediate future and none expected unless there’s a sudden breakthrough over Brexit.
Further out, the twelve month outlook is a little more upbeat says RICS, suggesting that a lot of the near term pessimism is likely to lift once there’s more clarity over the EU departure in March.
The 12 month outlook for prices remains broadly flat, except in London and the South East, where prices are anticipated to either rise or hold steady across the other UK regions over this time horizon.
The RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn says:
“It is hardly a surprise with ongoing uncertainty about the path to Brexit dominating the news agenda, that even allowing for the normal patterns around the Christmas holidays, buyer interest in purchasing property in December was subdued.
“This is also very clearly reflected in a worsening trend in near term sales expectations. Looking a little further out, there is some comfort provided by the suggestion that transactions nationally should stabilise as some of the fog lifts, but that moment feels a way off for many respondents to the survey.”