The snap General Election appears to have exacerbated a slowing down of the housing market, as buyers and sellers adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach.
This is the finding of a new survey by RICS, which revealed that in May 25% more respondents cited a decline in fresh listings (compared to those reporting a rise), producing the most negative reading since July 2016. At the same time, new buyer enquiries fell at the national level, having remained stagnant over much of the past six months.
According to RICS, agreed sales continued to decline for a second month running as the national indicator saw 8% more respondents seeing a fall in agreed sales (compared to -9% previously). Going forward, near-term sales expectations imply little change over the coming three months, but over the next twelve months respondents appear slightly more optimistic, with a net balance of 26% anticipating an increase in activity.
“The latest survey suggests that uncertainty related to the General Election may have contributed to what appears to have been a disappointing level of transactions in the housing market over the spring,” explained Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist. “Perhaps the most ominous signal emanating from the data released today is that contributors still expect house prices to increase at a faster pace than wages over the medium term despite the difficulty many first-time buyers are clearly having in taking their first steps onto the property ladder.”
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