The October 2019 RICS UK Residential Market Survey continues to show a subdued sales market, with negative readings covering new buyer enquiries, agreed sales and new instructions. Near term expectations for sales over the next three months have improved a little, and a stable trend is now anticipated. Potentially indicating a change post election.

Across the UK as a whole, enquiries from new buyers fell for the second month in succession, with a net balance of -16% of respondents citing a decline. Alongside this, newly agreed sales continued to slip. Looking at the different areas of the UK, sales dipped across virtually all parts apart from Northern Ireland, where contributors noted a marginal increase.

Looking ahead, as the three month sales outlook turned less pessimistic, twelve-month expectations also improved, posting the highest reading in nine months (net balance +23%).

As the UK continues to struggle with housing supply, respondents noted that new instructions fell for the fourth consecutive month (at the national level). This decline was reflected across the whole of the UK. In addition, at -49%, the net balance of survey participants reporting an annual decline in the level of market appraisals undertaken was the most negative since this series began in 2017.

Moving to prices, the national indicator on house price inflation posted a broadly flat net balance of -5%, little changed from -3% previously. Regarding the outlook, current conditions could place marginally downward pressure on headline house prices at the national level in the near term. Over the next twelve months however, prices are expected to increase. Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the North West of England display the strongest expectations for house price growth over the coming year.

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