RICS: Home sales stagnate

Sarah Davidson

October 8, 2015

With the stock of homes per surveyor stuck at 47, the lowest reading in this survey’s history, it is becoming more difficult for buyers to find a home.

New buyer enquiries rose once again and the new sales instructions balance remained negative.

At 18% and minus 6% respectively, the gap between the two series was at its smallest for four months meaning the imbalance between the number of active buyers and sellers grew a touch more slowly than in recent months.

Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics, said: “September’s RICS survey painted a similar picture to that seen in recent months.

“But with house prices already so high, there were tentative signs that buyers are increasingly wary of responding to the lack of stock by engaging in bidding wars.

“With competition for the limited supply of homes seeming to increase again, we might have expected price pressures to have built. In fact, the past prices balance dipped from 53% in August to 44% in September, implying that fewer surveyors are seeing prices rise.

“Combined with the fact that the buyer enquiries balance eased back for the second consecutive month, the softer past prices balance could be a sign that buyers are no longer able, or willing, to keep bidding prices higher.”

Consistent with that the survey also showed that demand for rental property has picked up – at 42%, the tenant demand balance was far higher than this time last year.

Stansfield added: “For now, there is little sign that this demand has had a material impact on rental growth expectations. While it is early days, that could be a sign that, like owner occupiers, renters are also reaching the limit of what they can afford to pay.”

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