The housing market has seen improved performance in many ways, following the recent
general election result, according to the RICS UK Residential Market Survey.
This upturn has been felt strongest in Wales and the North East, and overall, RICS members
who saw buyer enquiries go up in December outnumbered those who saw the opposite by
Meanwhile, there was a 9% net increase in the number of sales agreed, with London and the South East showing particularly strong growth in this area, up 22% and 23% respectively.
As a result, expectations of RICS members are now on the rise, with 31% feeling more
positive about what the next three months will bring. However, landlord instructions declined during the month, despite the general positivity.
Additionally, house price growth dipped to -2% during the month, though a net 61% expect
prices to increase in the next 12 months. The private rental sector’s current imbalance
between supply and demand is expected to lead to further rent increases in the early months of 2019.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The signals from the latest RICS survey
provides further evidence that the housing market is seeing some benefit from the greater
clarity provided by the decisive election outcome.
“Whether the improvement in sentiment can be sustained remains to be seen given that
there is so much work to be done over the course of this year in determining the nature of
the eventual Brexit deal.
“However, the sales expectations indicators clearly point to the prospect of more upbeat
trend in transactions emerging with potential purchasers being more comfortable in following through on initial enquiries.
“The ongoing lack of stock on the market remains a potential drag on a meaningful uplift in activity although the very modest increase in new instructions in December is an early
“Given that affordability remains a key issue in many parts of the country, the shift in the
mood-music on prices is a concern with even London expectations pointing to a reversal of
course both over the coming months and looking further out.
“This highlights the critical importance of the government addressing the challenge around
housing supply particularly with the gradual phasing out of the Help to Buy incentive.”
Sam Mitchell, chief executive at online estate agent Housesimple, said: “The positive
sentiment expressed by the latest RICS survey reflects the upbeat start to the year we are experiencing as a sector. Confidence is returning to the property market and the ‘Boris
bounce’ has certainly been felt.
“With the ongoing imbalance between supply of properties and demand for houses,
combined with low interest rates, high employment and good access to finance, there is a
solid foundation in place for house prices to continue on in their uphill climb throughout the year ahead.
“We would therefore encourage sellers to take advantage of the healthy market this year. First-time buyers might be less impressed by rising house prices, but we hope for their sake
that some real home building promises or initiatives are going to be announced in the
upcoming Spring Budget.”