General Election uncertainty hitting housing market, surveyors say

Owen Stevens
May 12, 2017

Activity in the United Kingdom housing market is continuing to slow down, with property surveyors predicting a flat summer ahead.

The report comes after High Street giant Halifax on Monday blamed an inflationary squeeze on household incomes for the first quarterly fall in house prices for more than four and a half years.

Notwithstanding this, the twelve month expectations predict that all parts of the United Kingdom will see growth in house prices.

In Central London the indicator on prices has been in negative territory for 13 months.

There was a drop in new instructions last month and 4% of survey respondents saw a fall in new buyer inquiries.

Despite the subdued backdrop, 22% more respondents saw prices rising in April, (unchanged from March) - underpinned by the lack of stock. This finding follows a recent claim from a leading property-finding firm that the once super-heated central London market had turned into a "burnt-out core".

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It said average house prices fell by 0.2 per cent to £219,649 in the three months to April, compared with the previous quarter. Uncertainty relating to the forthcoming general election is also highlighted by some respondents as a reason for inertia.

"The bulk of the feedback we are receiving points to a fairly flat summer for both activity and prices", Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said in an emailed statement.

RICS Residential Property Spokesman, Samuel Dickey, says: "The market will be encouraged by any signs of an improvement in supply, however, anecdotally, concerns persist, with surveyors pointing to a lack of choice for buyers and competitive bidding on good properties in popular areas".

The data from property website Zoopla showed that 87% of British homeowners believed that homes in their region would grow in value over the next six months. Lawrence Hall, a spokesman for the website, said: "With the upcoming general election, it's perhaps no surprise that people may be holding out to make a purchase or sale decision until after 8 June".

But 67 per cent more estate agents in the North West noted higher rather than lower prices last month.

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