The RICS August Housing Market Survey has been released, confirming reports of a wide disparity between the health of the northern/southern housing markets.
In broad terms, a further increase in housing supply has pushed the net price balance of property deeper into negative territory. Transaction activity remains steady albeit at relatively low levels and the survey shows more surveyors continue to see falling rather than rising prices. However, despite a further drop in buyer enquiries, sales expectations rebound.
According to RICS, the weaker trend in prices is being driven by a combination of increasing new vendor instructions and falling new buyer enquiries.
It also suggests that the initial surge in supply following the abolition of HIPs has started to fade. In terms of the regional picture, respondents are now reporting price falls across all regions covered by the survey apart from Scotland and surveyors reported falling prices in Northern Ireland for the third year running.
King Sturge LLP of Liverpool comment: “There has been a notable reduction in new buyer enquires over July and August. Confidence has been shaken by the government’s recent budget cut announcements. The cuts could potentially affect a large percentage of Liverpool’s population as many are employed in the public sector, or work in private firms reliant on contracts funded by the government. The rental market continues to thrive as competition between tenants increases and rents are pushed higher.”
However surveyors in London and the South East have tended to remain confident that the market will pick up in the run up to Christmas: Stephen Whitley, practicing in West Drayton, Middlesex said: “With little unemployment in the area the demand for property has remained surprisingly strong with correctly priced properties selling close to the asking price.” Anthony Jamieson of Clarke Gammon Wellers, Guildford, Surrey adds: “The summer months are now behind us and we are hopeful of a reasonably active autumn market. Prices have definitely peaked and it has become more of a ‘buyers market’. Sales seem to be taking such a long time to go through.”