Housing market picture across UK increasingly mixed, according to surveyors

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The housing market is proving to be more resilient in some parts of the country than others, according to surveyors.

An increasingly mixed picture is being seen across the UK, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has found.

It said the mood remains cautious in London and, to some extent, the South East of England - while further away from the capital sentiment about the near-term prospects for the housing market is more upbeat.

The housing market picture is increasingly mixed across the UK, according to Rics
The housing market picture is increasingly mixed across the UK, according to Rics (PA)

In London and the South East, surveyors were particularly likely to feel that homes on the market are overpriced.

In the August survey, a net balance of 6% more surveyors across the country reported prices rising rather than falling.

But in central London the reading was stuck firmly in negative territory, with 56% more surveyors seeing a fall in prices rather than an increase - marking the weakest result since 2009.

Sentiment in East Anglia and the North East of England was also modestly negative, according to the findings.

By contrast, the survey pointed to solid price growth in many other parts of the UK, with Northern Ireland, the North West, Scotland and the South West seeing the firmest increases.

Some areas are seeing house prices stall, while others are seeing an increase
Some areas are seeing house prices stall, while others are seeing an increase (PA)

Looking ahead, surveyors in Northern Ireland and Scotland were the most confident in seeing further price growth over the coming three months. In Wales, surveyors reported both house prices rising currently and expectations that prices would continue to increase over the next three months.

Prime central London remains the only area across the country where house price expectations are negative for the coming 12 months, according to the survey.

Rics said there has been little change in the level of inquiries from home buyers or house sales in recent months.

It said the level of house sales has not seen any growth since November 2016.
Supply also continues to be an issue with 1% more surveyors seeing a fall in new sales instructions rather than an increase.

Supply continues to be an issue in the housing market, according to Rics
Supply continues to be an issue in the housing market, according to Rics (PA)

The deteriorating level of new homes coming on the market means average stock levels on agents' books remain near to an all-time low for the study, Rics said.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics, said: "The latest results continue to suggest that the greatest pressure on both prices and activity continues to be felt in the prime central London market.

"Although there are some signs that the wider South East is also losing some momentum, anecdotal evidence suggests the impact is very location specific.

"Meanwhile, the numbers for most other parts of the country point to a rather more resilient marketplace."

Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said: "The mixed picture that we've seen emerging over the last few months appears to be continuing, with London and the South East seeing prices coming off the boil - some may say correcting to a more reasonable level - with other regions, such as the North West and South West, still seeing strong increases.

"Overall, house price growth would seem to be in line with market expectations, although as that's an average figure across the board that's more of a broad indicator than anything else."