"April’s findings appear to be very similar to those of previous months, with a diverging picture still very evident as some regions continue to perform better than others."
Headline indicators on demand, supply and house prices all remained in negative territory in April, according to the latest RICS residential market survey.
Headline house prices saw another gradual moderation over the month, with prices under pressure particularly in London and the South East. The South West has now consistently returned negative readings for the past six months.
RICS says Brexit uncertainty and a lack of available stock to purchase remain the key constraints, with "little change in momentum" anticipated in the near term.
Additionally, a sustained fall in new buyer enquiries has been a key factor behind weaker price trends in parts of the country and demand reportedly fell once again in April, with virtually all parts of the UK seeing a fall.
On the back of this, the survey’s indicator on newly agreed sales remained in negative territory for a ninth consecutive month.
Feedback from contributors continues to point to higher priced tiers of the market encountering a more challenging backdrop. For properties marketed at over £1m, 66% of respondents reported sales prices coming in below asking prices.
Near term sales expectations remain negative, pointing to flat or declining sales across all parts of the UK in the coming three months, however expectations are slightly more positive at the twelve month horizon.
Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, commented: “April’s findings appear to be very similar to those of previous months, with a diverging picture still very evident as some regions continue to perform better than others.
"Interestingly, within the broader geographical differences, the performance of various sectors of the market are adding yet further nuances, as demand for homes up to £500,000 appears to be holding steady, whilst many of those in the upper bracket of £1million or above appear to be finding the market challenging. One explanation for this could be that first-time buyers and family movers have decided to push ahead with their plans for this year regardless of the current political climate, whilst the more discretionary-led buyers who would be purchasing luxury homes are potentially taking a more circumspect view, as is often the case for those who don’t necessarily need to move but are keeping an eye out for ‘the right’ property.
"Against this backdrop, the mortgage market remains competitive, providing those who are currently purchasing with the potential to secure a mortgage at or close to historically low levels, and therefore helping to support the market in areas which are more active.”