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RICS- House sales outlook weakest on record

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Sky News - "Brexit uncertainty causes worst outlook for 20 years due to Brexit and the uncertainty that Brexit uncertainty causes. Brexit is bad, readers. Brexit will destroy us all."



December is usually a quieter time for house sales but Brexit uncertainty appears to be encouraging more people to stay put.

The outlook for house sales is the most negative seen for two decades, with many surveyors blaming Brexit uncertainty.

Some 28% of surveyors expect sales numbers to fall over the next three months rather than increase, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

This is the most pessimistic reading since RICS began its housing outlook surveys in 1999.

For most of the UK, the number of house sales is expected to either remain flat or fall into the negative but East Anglia, Wales, the North East and Northern Ireland may see some positive territory, the December survey said.

The survey marked the fourth consecutive month of negative house price readings.

Brexit uncertainty was blamed by many surveyors who responded to the survey, with some mentioning the demands of stamp duty and lack of housing supply.

Many are finding that homeowners are opting to stay put until there is more clarity on the nature of the UK's exit from the European Union.

The number of new homes coming onto the market continued a six-month decline and the number of new buyer enquiries fell for the fifth month in a row.

One surveyor in Guildford told the survey: "The uncertainty over Brexit has caused everyone to want to wait and see, stalling the market. There are no aspirational movers at present - only those who have to sell."

Another from London said: "Prices continued to slowly fall in the last month or so across all offices, however we do think these falls are easing. Sellers are becoming realistic and our actual sales numbers are holding up."

In Northampton, Brexit was described by one surveyor as a "cloud overhanging the market", adding that its impact "cannot be underestimated".

And in Stamford, Lincolnshire, one said: "Brexit has reduced liquidity through both vendor and buyer uncertainty without question. People do not appear to be moving unless they have to."

Expectations for 12 months' time are slightly better, however, suggesting the Brexit concerns could be simply a short-term consideration.

With the exception of London and the South East, prices are anticipated to either rise or hold steady across the other UK regions over 2019.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: "It is hardly a surprise with ongoing uncertainty about the path to Brexit dominating the news agenda, that even allowing for the normal patterns around the Christmas holidays, buyer interest in purchasing property in December was subdued.

"This is also very clearly reflected in a worsening trend in near-term sales expectations.

"Looking a little further out, there is some comfort provided by the suggestion that transactions nationally should stabilise as some of the fog lifts, but that moment feels a way off for many respondents to the survey."

Mr Rubinsohn continued: "Meanwhile, it is hard to see developers stepping up the supply pipeline in this environment."

He said that, to get near to government building targets, this "will require significantly greater input from other delivery channels including local authorities".


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They blame Brexit in the hope some soft deal will be agreed or no Brexit at all and then business as usual...HPI forever...

I like the contradiction between the headline of 'outlook weakest on record' but they predict the market to stabilise and don't predict any falls on UK basis...better not scare the horses.  Wealth continues to flow into the pockets of older owners out of the pockets of younger renters and as such all is well in the world.

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2 hours ago, koala_bear said:

Presumably a few landlord are also attempting to put up rents to cover their increased tax costs?

Don't ask you don't get......they will not be getting, one thing they could be getting though is longer voids, also   void of income from existing tenants who can't or won't pay.?

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4 hours ago, Wayward said:

They can try.  Local supply and demand dynamics will determine whether they can.

Attempt and succeed are 2 very different things!

Completely agree on the local aspect. There has been a noticeable decrease in BTL with them selling to FTBs in the last 18 months near me but this won't be a London or Country wide thing.

Edited by koala_bear
correcting typo
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15 hours ago, koala_bear said:

Attempt and succeed are 2 very different things!

Completely agree on the local aspect. There has been a noticeable decrease in BTL with them selling to FTBs in the last 18 months near me but this won't be a London or Country wide thing.

Not sure what you meant here, but the evidence is that London rents are rising less than elsewhere and have fallen slightly from the peak. 

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Every little helps, although I don't think sentiment has turned sufficiently that people are expecting large losses, at the moment I feel people might think this is only a blip and normal service will be resumed in a year or so.

Around me priced have declined slightly from last year, that is for sure but still have a long way to go to be back where they were in 2014, let alone 2010.

There are some properties coming on the market, but it is the exception that I see something keenly priced, more common is that people are still sticking stuff up at last years prices and hoping to get a bite.

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I'm not seeing a lack of property coming to the market on my Rightmove search for Milton Keynes.  These are added to the properties that didn't sell from last year - some of which have been relaunched afresh for the new year by changing the agent...

In one area I am following there are more properties unsold in my search than any other time in the last 2 years.

What strikes me in particular are the <300k houses which previously were selling quickly. I don't know though if these were selling to LL's or FTB'ers. I'm going to try and follow the rental market and see what is happening there. 

There is still too many overpriced kite flyers for me to put together a list to look at though. It does however, give me a good set of properties to follow, see if they sell and at what prices. 

I'm not waiting for the market to hit rock bottom. Just want to buy somewhere we would be happy and comfortable to live in for at least 10 years at a price that we can afford.

Edited by Flopsy
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All this makes perfect sense.

Rents are going up because people are not buying, they are sitting on the sidelines as prices soften or fall. I've seen this pattern before every crash. In fact I'm doing the same right now.

Little is on the market because sellers can see sentiment has changed and are holding off, there will be no crash until distressed sellers are forced to sell at discounts. This will not happen until the pension schemes are allowed to default  forcing pensioners to down-size. In my area most family-sized homes sell to retired Boomers!



Edited by TwoWolves
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