UK housing market ‘stagnant’ says RICS

Another sign of a stumble in the UK’s national obsession: housing.

Following reports of waning momentum from the Office for National Statistics, flat prices from lender Halifax, and a slowdown from Nationwide, now the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors is also weighing in. The market “lacks impetus, with new buyer enquiries and agreed sales stagnant in March”, it said today.

March’s survey of chartered surveyors, released overnight, showed that a net balance of 22 per cent of respondents have seen prices rise, in line with February’s assessment.

However, the difference between central London and the rest of the UK continues to widen. If figures from the capital are excluded from the headline figure, price growth in the UK has accelerated since December and price rises in the North West are particularly strong.

The stream of new properties coming to market has slowed markedly, it added.

Stock on estate agents’ books has consequently dipped to a new record low with branches (on average) now holding only 43 unsold properties.

Sam Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics writes:

March’s RICS survey shows that falling real wages, negligible employment growth and uncertainty about the economic outlook have all taken a toll of house purchase demand. (But) prices at the national level still are edging up, despite stagnant demand, due to the dearth of homes being put up for sale.

The full report from RICS is here.

(Chart via Pantheon.)

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