House prices and buyer activity continue to fall

House prices and buyer activity continue to fall

0:04 AM, 19th January 2023, About A year ago

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There has been a further weakening in the property market with sales, instructions to sell and prices all declining in the RICS Residential Market Survey for October.

The organisation says that this downward trend could last over the coming months.

House prices have fallen for three consecutive months and new buyer enquiries nationally are -39% down.

RICS says the latest result indicate that house price growth has ‘ground to a halt’.

Fresh property listings coming onto the sales market also fell, with the latest net balance of -23% representing the weakest return for this indicator since September 2021.

Tenant demand continues to rise at a solid pace

However, tenant demand continues to rise at a solid pace, with a net balance of +46% of survey participants noting an increase in October.

At the same time, landlord instructions fell once again with a net balance of -14% of respondents and RICS’ members are predicting that rents will rise by around 4% nationally.

‘Concerted thinking about how to create a thriving sector’

Simon Rubinsohn, the chief economist at RICS, said: “Feedback around the lettings market once again demonstrates the need for some concerted thinking about how to create a thriving sector that caters for both the private and ‘affordable’ renter.”

He added: “The latest Residential Survey highlights the emerging challenges in the housing market as new buyers grapple with more costly finance terms and uncertainty over the outlook for the economy.

“This is reflected in forward looking RICS indicators around both prices and activity.

“However, some signs of an easing in inflation pressures more generally could provide a chink of light, particularly for those looking to take their first step on the property ladder.”

Sales across the country also fell

Agreed sales across the country also fell by -41% among survey participants.

And the downward sales trend has hit nearly all parts of the UK over the month, with respondents in the North West of England, Scotland, Wales and London all citing a particularly quiet month for activity.

There has also been a fall of -42% of respondents who report a decline in prices and which, RICS says, shows a further weakening.

All regions across England are now seeing prices soften with East Anglia and the South East seeing the sharpest rate of decline.

‘House isn’t winning any more’

Sarah Coles, a senior personal finance analyst with Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The house isn’t winning any more, with prices down for the third consecutive month.

“The trend is gathering pace, as more agents say prices are falling with each passing month, and every region is seeing price drops.

“The picture looks particularly bleak in East Anglia and the South East, where prices are dropping most sharply.”

She added: “If you’re put off by the falling market, and choose to rent for longer, the market will deal you another blow – because rents are still rising.

“December saw yet another month of disappearing landlords – as they sell up and get out of the market.

“Meanwhile, although the growth in tenant numbers has started to slow, it’s still up for yet another month, and agents expect rents to keep climbing.”

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