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'Autumn bounce-back' fails to materialise as activity remains flat: RICS

Rozi Jones
11th October 2018
house gutter leaves autumn
"We have not seen the 'autumn bounce-back' in the market that we were expecting, especially after such a quiet summer."

Buyer demand continued to weaken in September, while twelve month sales expectations turned negative, according to the latest RICS market survey.

Respondents cited a mixture of affordability constraints, a lack of stock, economic uncertainty and interest rate rises to be holding back activity.

As a result, forward looking indicators have now turned a little more pessimistic with regards to the sales outlook.

New buyer demand and the volume of new sales instructions coming to the market have both slipped for the second consecutive month, and RICS says there is "nothing to suggest a pick-up in sales listings is imminent".

The regional breakdown shows a flat to slightly negative sales trend in virtually all parts of the country. Northern Ireland and Wales were the only areas reported to have seen a rise in sales during September, but this growth was relatively modest.

The survey also shows that house prices have remained more or less unchanged at the national level in each of the past five months.

Going forward, respondents in almost all areas, with the exception of London and the South East, are anticipating prices will drift higher over the coming twelve months, led by expectations in the North West of England and Northern Ireland.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented: "We have not seen the 'autumn bounce-back' in the market that we were expecting, especially after such a quiet summer. It is interesting that activity remains fairly flat nationally, which means London is still in negative territory, turning the old north/south property divide on its head.

"It is particularly disappointing that sellers seem reluctant to make their properties available in sufficient numbers, which would have improved choice and get the market moving in the period running up to Christmas. Our customers are still telling us that Brexit uncertainty is a factor in what has become a needs-driven market."

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