Housing market 'settling down' after Brexit vote jitters, say surveyors

Rics September report finds ‘significant turnaround’ in new buyer inquiries compared with June

Demand from homebuyers has risen for the first time since February, in a sign that the market is ‘settling down’ after the EU referendum, surveyors have said.

However, the number of people putting their homes on the market fell for the seventh consecutive month, and the number of sales remained low.

The latest monthly snapshot of the market from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on Thursday found a “significant turnaround” in inquiries from new buyers in September when compared with June. In the month of the referendum, more surveyors saw numbers fall than rise, while in September slightly more saw an increase.

The number of new instructions received by estate agents fell once again, though, bringing the average number of homes on each agent’s books down to 45, close to the historic low recorded in December 2015.

Rics said its members expected the fall in supply and the increase in buyer demand to push up prices somewhat in the near term and “by rather more” in the longer term. In September, a net balance of 17% of surveyors saw house prices increase rather than decrease, up from a balance of 13% in August, and a balance of 14% predicted that prices would rise further over the next three months. This is the strongest expectation that house prices are set to increase in the near term since March.

In central London, however, prices are expected to fall modestly. “Anecdotal evidence suggests that uncertainty following the EU vote, along with stamp duty changes, are both continuing to adversely impact the top end of the market in particular,” Rics said.

The group’s chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn, said: “The market does now appear to be settling down following the significant headwinds encountered through the spring and summer.

“Buyers do appear to be returning, albeit relatively slowly, but the big issue that continues to be highlighted by respondents is the lack of fresh stock on the market. Although this is not a new story, it is a significant one, having ramifications for both prices and the level of turnover.”

Brian Murphy, head of lending at broker Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the report suggested the market was “stable and faring well given the current economic and political climate”.

He added: “It’s also interesting, and no doubt reassuring for many, that the Rics report indicates their members’ expectations are that current rates of house price growth are likely to continue for both the short and midterm.”


Hilary Osborne

The GuardianTramp

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