UK house prices and sales ‘losing momentum’

69% of property professionals said sale prices were lower than asking prices for homes marketed at more than £1m.

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House prices and sales are “flatlining” amid Brexit uncertainty, according to a new Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report.

69% of property professionals surveyed said sale prices were lower than asking prices for homes marketed at more than £1m.

However, the report revealed that prices in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland were rising at a “solid pace”.

House prices continued to fall in London – where a higher proportion of £1m homes are sold – the South East of England, and East Anglia.

Overall, a net balance of 9% of surveyors reported house prices falling rather than increasing.

Surveyors’ expectations for house sales in the next few months were also said to be flat, with an increasing proportion expecting prices to fall.

The survey also suggested that rents could increase in the coming months.

Demand for homes to rent in July was at the highest level since late 2016 under the RICS measure, and at the same time the number of new properties being listed for rent by landlords was decreasing.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said that the UK-wide picture provided “little comfort for the market”.

“The forward-looking metrics on prices and sales also seem to be losing momentum as concerns, clearly voiced in the anecdotal feedback – both about Brexit and political uncertainty – heighten,” he said.

Adrian Moloney, sales director of OneSavings Bank, commented: “Though new housing policies have been touted, such as further cuts to stamp duty, prospective buyers are still very much in the dark when it comes to the new government’s next move when it comes to housing.

“Indeed, the property market sits on tenterhooks, waiting on a sense of clarity from the prime minister – not only from a policy level but on the all-important question of Brexit.

“There are signs of pent-up demand, with those unwilling to pause the house-hunt until 31st October. Yet this activity is still relatively minimal, with many buyers still opting to hold off.”

He added: “All the while, first-time buyers remain squeezed out of the market, struggling to get a foot on the ladder.

“The best way that this government can turbocharge future activity and increase home-ownership levels is to address the lack of housing supply. Only then can affordability issues be tackled and property chains unlocked.”

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