Housing market ‘shows signs of stabilising after Brexit deadline extension’

The housing market is showing signs of stabilising following the Brexit deadline being pushed back to October, according to surveyors.

For the first time since July 2018, property professionals have not reported that demand from buyers is declining, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.

It said: “The outright declines in the interest of new buyers in purchasing a home showed signs of stabilising May, in the wake of decision to extend the deadline for withdrawal from the EU till the end of October.”

Some recent housing market reports have pointed to interest from buyers and sellers declining while they wait for the outcome of Brexit.

But Rics said new buyer inquiries were “virtually unchanged” in May compared with the previous month.

In other signs the market is becoming slightly more stable, a negative trend in the number of sales being agreed, new homes coming on the market and house prices also diminished to some extent, Rics said.

Surveyors’ near-term expectations for the housing market are still a little downbeat, although expectations for the next 12 months for house sales and prices signal a “modest recovery”, the report said.

Looking across the UK, the South East of England is now showing the most negative sentiment over house prices. Prices are also still falling in London although the situation there seems to have eased, Rics said.

Surveyors in virtually all parts of the UK, apart from London, expect to see some uplift in house prices in the next 12 months, the report said.

Those in Scotland, the North West of England and the West Midlands have the strongest expectations for house price growth over the next 12 months.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: “Some comfort can be drawn from the results of the latest Rics survey.”

But he said another significant point made by those surveyed “is that there continues to be considerable emphasis on the need for realistic pricing on the part of vendors”.