Economy

Survey paints 'upbeat' picture for housing market

House prices in the United Kingdom continued to rise in September even though interest from buyers was at its lowest level since last summer's European Union referendum, according to a report.

Housing market activity and confidence are now lower than at any point since the referendum to leave the European Union, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Alongside this, 19 per cent more respondents reported a fall in agreed sales rather than a rise - the poorest monthly reading since July a year ago.

RICS says that when broken down regionally, London and the South East were at the forefront of the decline in sales, but weakness in transactions was widespread during September. Only Wales and the South West had an increase in property sales.

The balance of surveyors saying that prices rose in the past three months was also significantly higher in Northern Ireland than the United Kingdom average.

New instructions to sell were stable for the second month running, having declined continuously for the past 18 months. Consequently, average stock levels on estate agents books held broadly steady - albeit near record lows - at 43.3.

However surveyors reported that a lack of housing stock was a key factor behind this.

London is seeing "firmly negative" house price growth, while prices have also been on a downward slope in the South East for four months in a row, albeit to a lesser extent than in London.

The outlook for the Northern Ireland housing market remains more buoyant than other United Kingdom regions despite an apparent slowdown in the market last month according to the the latest industry figures. And despite the announcements at the recent Conservative Party conference, it is hard to envisage this changing any time soon.

He said this will partly be due to affordability constraints hitting higher-priced parts of the market. "Against such a backdrop, prices in general are likely to remain elevated and indeed, as the survey indicates, continues to rise over the medium term in most parts of the country". "It is perhaps also indicative of. the increasing possibility of the first hike in base rates in over ten years", Rubinsohn said.



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