RICS Residential Market Survey for October 2017

September 2017 RICS UK Residential Market Survey results published this October are again symptomatic of a market lacking momentum at a national level.

The Headline Indicators on the Residential Sales Market from the questionnaire responses of member agents.

  • Demand and sales both slipped deeper into negative territory.
  • A subdued market is expected to persist over the coming months.
  • Interest rate expectations may be contributing to the more cautious tone in market sentiment.
  • The price gauge for London and the South East remains negative with a view that their markets are overpriced, compared to all other parts of the UK.
  • East Anglia and the North East also posted modestly negative readings for house price inflation.
  • Price growth remains relatively robust across the rest of the UK.
  • In terms of the outlook for house prices, three-month expectations are now modestly negative at the national level.
  • Northern Ireland and Scotland are now the only two areas in which contributors are confident that prices will rise meaningfully over the near term.
  • On the twelve month horizon, respondents do expect prices to increase in all areas, with London the sole exception.
  • New buyer enquiries declined during September, as a net balance of -20% more respondents noted a fall in demand (as opposed to an increase). This extends a sequence of negative readings into THE sixth month, it also represents the weakest figures since July 2016.
  • New instructions to sell were more or less stable for the second report running, having declined continuously over the past eighteen months.
  • Average stock levels on estate agents’ books held broadly steady (albeit near record lows), at 43.3.
  • Headline agreed sales volumes also fell. London and the South East were at the forefront of the decline once more. In fact, only Wales and the South West were cited to have seen an increase over the month, while all other parts of the UK exhibited either a flat or negative trend.
  • The average time taken from listing to completion across the UK lengthened to 18 weeks (from 17), according to the latest results.
  • Little change is anticipated in terms of national sales activity over the coming three months.
  • The twelve-month outlook is also flat at the national level, although respondents are a little more optimistic in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Headline Indicators on Residential Lettings Market from the questionnaire responses of member agents.

  • Interest from prospective tenants edged up during September (non-seasonally adjusted), with 10% more respondents noting a rise, rather than a fall, in demand.
  • Landlord instructions declined alongside this, meaning listings have not seen any growth going back fourteen months.
  • Rental expectations are somewhat subdued in the near term, with contributors anticipating only a marginal rise on a UK-wide basis.
  • Over the next twelve months, respondents are pencilling in a rise of around 2% in rents nationally.
  • Contributors in London still see rents coming under further downward pressure over the year ahead. 

Tony Wing DipSurv MRICS FNAEA
Residential Sales Director
Tel: 01522 538888
Email: tonywing@robert-bell.org


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