Property News > Market downturn outlined by RICS

Market downturn outlined by RICS

The coronavirus pandemic caused enquiries, sales volumes and instructions to nosedive in
March, the RICS UK Residential Survey shows.

The activity has been described by RICS as ‘frozen’, as a result of government measures
which forced estate agents to close their offices as part of the national effort to combat the
virus.

A net balance of -74% of surveyors across the UK reported a fall in enquiries, while a net -
69% saw a fall in sales volumes.

Meanwhile, near term sales expectations were at a net -92% - the lowest figure since 1998
when the series first began.

In addition, expectations regarding house prices in the near term have fallen to a net -82%.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The
RICS survey has proved yet again to be a reliable indicator of housing market trends – and
unfortunately so, on this occasion.

“It confirms what we are seeing on the ground – demand to buy has been falling off a cliff,
not least because physical viewings and surveys cannot be arranged despite the growth in
virtual tours.

“Nevertheless, interest in property remains strong, evidenced by active portal browsing and enquiries whereas nearly all of our sales which were at an advanced stage prior to lockdown proceeded to completion with several more in the pipeline.

“Interest in lettings has been particularly healthy too leading us to believe the bounceback
will be sustainable provided restrictions are eased fairly soon and damage to the economy is relatively limited.”

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