The housing market stabilises in November

Ryan Bembridge

December 14, 2017

The housing market stabilised in November after months of subdued activity, the RICS UK Residential Market Survey has found.

Chartered surveyors were most negative about the state of the market in London, while there was downward pressure on house prices in the South East.

However they said there were price gains in Wales, Northern Ireland and the North West of England.

Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, said: “Despite house prices remaining flat, the latest RICS survey shows that the market has remained robust despite various economic and political uncertainties.

“The main focus now should be to ensure that the market doesn’t become stagnant.

“With property prices remaining high in proportion to salaries, first-time buyers are at risk of being squeezed out of the market.

“It was encouraging to see a reduction in stamp duty for first-time buyers, and we should hopefully see an increase in affordable housing being built, but more can still be done.

“To help ensure a buoyant market, the industry and government should be doing more to encourage movement within the market to free up housing stock.

“We should be looking to create a circle of life by encouraging second steppers to move up the ladder and incentivise last-time buyers to downsize from large family properties, so that these properties can be freed up for others.”

In the next three months house price expectations were slightly negative, with 5% more surveyors expecting them to fall than rise.

Again, there was particular caution about London and the South East, though contributors were confident that prices would rise in the North West, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Over the course of 12 months surveyors expect some price growth in every area of the UK with the exception of London.

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of this report, we should focus our attention on the positive outcomes.

“The Chancellor’s recent announcement of an exemption from stamp duty for first time buyers should encourage more people to look for their first home.

“The focus from the government on solving the housing crisis is overdue, but very welcome, and it is positive to see this level of commitment to the market and to borrowers.

“There is, of course, still more that can be done to ease the pressure. Extending the stamp duty exemption to downsizers, for example, would be a sensible move.

“This would help to encourage retired borrowers to move, and therefore increase the amount of suitable properties on the market, boosting housing stock for growing families and younger buyers.”

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