A gloomy year-end report from RICS blames the Brexit impasse
for residential property market blues continuing, a dark cloud hanging over
estate agents, letting agents and landlords.
The results of the December 2018 RICS UK Residential Market Survey
show the year ending on a “weak note”, with key activity indicators continuing
to slip below the headline level.
Political uncertainty is increasingly being cited as a
constraint on the market, alongside the well-established challenges around
affordability, a lack of stock available for purchase and lettings, and the increasing
tax and regulatory burden on landlords.
Property stock is down in both lettings and sales, and sales
enquiries, agreed sales, and new instructions all declined in December. New
instructions have been and remain in negative territory having declined in 19
of previous 24 months
Despite all of this, there is no sign of an improvement in
the immediate future and none expected unless there’s a sudden breakthrough
Further out, the twelve month outlook is a little more
upbeat says RICS, suggesting that a lot of the near term pessimism is likely to
lift once there’s more clarity over the EU departure in March.
The 12 month outlook for prices remains broadly flat, except
in London and the South East, where prices are anticipated to either rise or
hold steady across the other UK regions over this time horizon.
The RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn says:
“It is hardly a surprise with ongoing uncertainty about the
path to Brexit dominating the news agenda, that even allowing for the normal
patterns around the Christmas holidays, buyer interest in purchasing property
in December was subdued.
“This is also very clearly reflected in a worsening trend in
near term sales expectations. Looking a little further out, there is some
comfort provided by the suggestion that transactions nationally should
stabilise as some of the fog lifts, but that moment feels a way off for many
respondents to the survey.”
December 2018: UK Residential Market Survey