Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors report suggests slowdown may worsen due to election uncertainty and an ‘acute shortage’ of fresh listings.
The UK housing market is continuing to slow down, with falling property sales, “stagnant” buyer demand and general election uncertainty all adding up to one of the most downbeat reports issued by surveyors since the financial crash.
In its latest monthly snapshot of the market, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said momentum was “continuing to ebb,” with no sign of change in the near future.
Its report is the latest in a series of recent surveys suggesting that the slowdown is getting worse as household budgets continue to be squeezed and affordability pressures bite. It comes days after the Halifax said house prices fell by 0.1% in April, which meant they were nearly £3,000 below their December 2016 peak.
Nationwide reported a bigger decline in April – it said prices fell by 0.4%, following a 0.3% drop in March.
Some parts of London appear to have been hit particularly hard, with estate agents and developers resorting to offering free cars and other incentives to try to tempt buyers.
Rics said its members had reported that sales were slipping slightly following months of flat transactions. A lack of choice for would-be buyers across the UK appears to be one of the major factors putting a dampener on sales: the latest report said there was “an acute shortage of stock,” with the typical number of properties on estate agents’ books hovering close to record lows.