House price growth at flattest level in four years: RICS

Housing market sees 'sustained deterioration' in activity as price growth stalls

Housing market sees 'sustained deterioration' in activity as price growth stalls

Political uncertainty, record-low stock numbers, and the impact of tax changes continued to slow the "faltering" United Kingdom housing market in July, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

That represents the softest reading since early 2013, although the figure disguises big regional variation.

Meanwhile Kirby O'Connor at Goc Estate Agents in Belfast, Northern Ireland - an area which is more buoyant than the others according to Rics data - said: 'Market has been strong over the summer, lots of new interest to the market and new listings'.

A net balance half of all surveyors in London say property prices have not risen in the last three months, while the South East also recorded a negative reading, the weakest for the region since 2011.

Some 28% more surveyors said they expected higher house prices over the next 12 months, although this is the least positive reading since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union past year.

In an extra question, contributors to the July survey reported on sales prices in comparison to their asking price. Some 68 per cent of surveyors said homes valued over £1m were being forced to accept less than the asking price.

"The bridging sector in particular has been flourishing in recent months, as those looking to capitalise on quick sales can do so with the flexibility and speed that this unique type of financing offers, and we expect this trend to continue".

Just 28% of respondents anticipated a price rise in the next three months - the lowest reading since July past year, following the European Union referendum.

It was a similar picture for the capital's rental market, where tenant demand fell, while nine per cent of respondents reported an increase in landlord instructions.

"There has been a recent series of tax changes but this is only part of the story".

The group's chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said sales activity across the United Kingdom had been slipping in recent months, and said the latest surveys suggested "this could continue for some time to come". Lack of new build in the wake of the financial crisis is a more fundamental factor weighing on the market.

He continued: "However, the long-running issue of housing supply remains, and it's vital that the Government continues to find and act on ways to address our limited housing stock to boost housing supply and give more younger buyers a better chance at home ownership".

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