RICS UK Residential Market Survey – July 2019

The latest RICS Residential Survey shows that the housing market broadly flatlined in July, as pre-Brexit caution continues to hold back sales.

Prospective buyers are dipping their toes in the market however, with a net balance of +8% of survey contributors noting that new buyer enquiries increased in July.

However, this has not fed into sales, with the net balance of newly agreed sales slipping back to -6% in July from +3% last month.

This comes as buyers face limited choice, with new instructions unchanged in July from last month, which followed a string of 11 months of decline.

The headline price indicator dipped further into negative territory in July, with a net balance of -9%. This has been driven by price falls in London, the South East and East Anglia, while prices were said to be rising in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Properties marketed at over £1m are under the most pressure from price declines, with 69% of respondents noting that sale prices are coming in below asking prices. Meanwhile, 59% of participants have reported that properties listed up to £0.5m have been at least level with asking.

Near-term sales expectations are broadly flat, with the net balance declining eight points to -2% in the month, while the outlook for prices three months ahead has turned slightly negative as well. However, agents In the North East, North West, Wales and the West Midlands are more optimistic than the national average.

Indicators suggest there will be little movement in the supply of properties for sale in the immediate future, with the volume of market appraisals undertaken down in July compared to last year.

Elsewhere, the lettings market continues to be challenged by fewer landlord instructions, although tenant demand has ramped up to its strongest reading since late-2016. This has supported rents, with near term rental growth expectations at +25% in July, marking the strongest reading in twelve quarters.

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