Monday, 19 February, 2018

Political uncertainty quashing house growth, surveyors say

Reuters Reuters
Preston Stone | 11 August, 2017, 01:16

Ten years on from the beginnings of the credit crunch, local house prices remain around 40% below their 2007 peak, a study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found.

Meanwhile, Nationwide's rival house price index recorded a 0.3% monthly increase, and an annualised rate of growth of 2.9%, down from 3.1% in June.

Introduced in April past year, property investors and people buying second homes now have to pay a stamp duty surcharge of 3 per cent.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said a shortage of homes for sale, political uncertainty and the aftermath of stamp duty increases are all causing the United Kingdom housing market to stutter in other parts of the south east.

"However as one of the most affordable regions of the United Kingdom, confidence remains within the sector and this is supported by affordability, a stable local labour market and economic growth of 0.3% in the early part of 2017". Over the next 12 months, 28% of surveyors expect to see a rise in prices, although this is the lowest reading since last July. Again, central London continues to exhibit the most cautious twelve month projections relative to all other parts of the UK.

Of those surveyed 68 per cent reported that homes marketed at more than £1m are seeing the greatest deviation from listed prices, and were being sold for less than their original asking price.

There has not been any significant growth in new inquiries since November 2016, while new instructions have now been negative for 17 consecutive months.

Of homes marketed at less than £500,000, 49% noted sales and asking prices were at the same level, although 37% stated sales prices were lower.

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Cold waves have become less frequent since the early 1900s, while heat waves have become more frequent since the 1960s. That has caused the number of tidal floods in several USA coastal cities to increase five to tenfold since the 1960s.

Record low stock numbers, political uncertainty and the aftermath of tax changes are obstacles now hindering the United Kingdom housing market, according to the latest analysis.

"Despite today's figures painting another downcast picture of activity, the housing market is resilient and we're optimistic that while we may continue to see a few stutters in due course, the overall market will grow in time". "Although tenant demand continued to edge higher, it did so at the slowest quarterly pace going back almost 20 years".

Rent price expectations are now only very modestly positive for the coming three months.

While surveyors reported that house prices fell in areas including London, they rose in Northern Ireland, the West Midlands and the South West.

"One reason for this is the recent series of tax changes but this is only part of the story". Lack of new build in the wake of the financial crisis is a more fundamental factor weighing on the market.

Rubinsohn added: "The flatter trend in price growth is arguably a silver lining, but there is no real indication that the housing market will become materially more affordable anytime soon".

The Managing Director of West One Loans, Stephen Wasserman, comments on the latest survey: "Political and economic upheaval, alongside the ongoing supply versus demand issue, is continuing to plague the property market, damping buyer and investor demand".

"The whole market has been steadily growing and we have seen increases in mortgage approvals year-on-year, driven by remortgage activity, particularly in the North".

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