Agency stock nearing record lows as surveyors report third consecutive monthly fall in buyer demand and sales

Surveyors have warned that average agency stock is getting closer to its all-time low after reporting yet another month of falling demand and sales.

The October RICS Residential Market Survey showed surveyors reporting a decline in new buyer enquiries and sales for the third consecutive month, while 30% more registered a drop in appraisals.

The proportion registering declines in new buyer enquiries increased, with 14% more seeing a fall rather than a rise, compared with 12% last month, while 10% more saw a fall in sales.

The RICS report warns this lack of activity has held average stock levels close to their all-time low, which was recorded at 41.8 properties per branch in February.

There was a bit less negativity for the future, though, with 6% expecting a drop in sales rather than an increase over the next three months, but this was better than the 15% reported last month.

Over the next 12 months, 5% more expect a decline, an improvement from the percentage balance figure of 17% from September.

This has led surveyors to predict average prices will drop in the next three months and be flat over the year, but respondents said it was higher value properties providing the biggest challenges.

Surveyors have also reported an increasing trend for discounting, with a third noting sale prices on properties below £500,000 were up to 5% below asking prices, while 14% saw a 10% cut on homes listed at above £1m.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist for RICS, said there were still regions beyond the south of England that are performing well despite the negative backdrop.

He said: “Although the tone of much of the newsflow surrounding the housing market remains downbeat, this continues to disproportionately reflect developments in the south and east of England with the picture remaining rather more resilient in many other parts of the country.

“Uncertainty about the economic outlook on the back of the never-ending Brexit negotiations appears a key drag on sentiment, according to respondents to the survey.

“Meanwhile, the announcement of the extension of Help to Buy, albeit in a narrower format, should continue to underpin the new-build market in the near term.

“Whether it, alongside other measures recently announced including the lifting of the housing revenue account cap, is sufficient to drive housing starts up to the Government’s 300,000 target over the coming years remains to be seen.”

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One Comment

  1. Woodentop

    Oh dear where are the on-liners going to get the money from. Bye, bye.

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