Property News

UK Property Market Continues to Struggle, According to RICS Survey

Emily Morley - July 16, 2018

Compared to a year ago, properties in the UK are taking longer to sell. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has released results from a survey, showing that in June more 10% more surveyors witnessed an increase over a decrease in instructions.

This is the first time that this figure has been positive for two consecutive months, since early 2016.

For the next three months, sales expectations are positive to an extent, but looking at the 12-month outlook, chartered surveyors are feeling more cautious, with sales falling to zero for the first time since October last year.

There has also been a 7% increase in those reporting a fall in agreed sales, resulting in the 16th consecutive month for decreases in newly agreed sales.

The RICS is concerned that matters may not improve for a while in the property market. The body describes it as an “uninspiring picture”, which has also had a knock-on effect for the time it takes to complete a property sale from the initial listing. Previously at 16 weeks in spring last year, it now currently averages out at 18 weeks.

Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist for the RICS, has said: “It is hard to see what is going to provide much impetus for activity in the housing market in the near term.

“Meanwhile the ongoing challenges around lifting the delivery pipeline, reflected in last week’s disappointing data on housing starts, is captured in the suspicion in the survey that prices are likely to resume an upward course over the coming year.

“The challenge is also visible in the response of the private lettings market to change to the tax treatment on investment properties.

“While it is understandable that the Government wanted to provide a lift for first-time buyers, this may well come at the cost of higher rents as the appeal of buy-to-let diminishes.”