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London housing market in a slump

14 April, 2017, 10:34 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Construction cranes are seen on a residential building project behind homes in west London in Britain

The UK housing market "continues to lack impetus", with new buyer enquiries flat for a third successive month in March, according to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey.

Surveyors' perceptions about current house price growth in central London have deteriorated to the weakest levels seen since 2009, Rics said.

Demand was static too, with the new buyer enquiries balance falling to zero in March from +3 in February.

Around 13 per cent of surveyors saw falls in new property transactions.

On average, estate agents only held 43 unsold properties on their books at the end of March, the lowest figure recorded since the series began in 1994.

Most RICS members think average United Kingdom house prices will rise over the next 12 months, but by a smaller margin than in February.

While price rises in London have eased down amid affordability concerns and efforts to make high-end properties less attractive to foreign buyers, the North West, South East, Midlands and Eastern England are driving the national rate of growth. Nevertheless, 14% more respondents from London anticipate prices will be higher in twelve month's time. As a result respondents have reduced predictions for sales growth in the year ahead.

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Most surveyors across the country still expect prices to rise over the next 12 months, but by a smaller majority than in February.

Tenant demand in the lettings market continued to rise as 11 per cent more respondents noted an increase rather than a fall on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, which, coupled with a lack of supply, continued to push up rents.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: "The latest results for the Rics survey show little change in the underlying picture surrounding both sales and markets".

"This includes rents, which away from the capital are generally moving higher as demand outstrips supply".

Meanwhile, Nationwide reported that house prices fell 0.3% month-on-month in March - the first monthly dip since June 2015. But, taking London as a whole, there has been a slight upturn in interest form buyers over the last four months, RICS said.

On Tuesday, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the average cost o a home in the United Kingdom rose 5.8 per cent in the year to February, bringing the cost of a home up to £218,000.

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