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United Kingdom residential real estate activity unsurprisingly subdued in November

United Kingdom residential real estate activity unsurprisingly subdued in November

The UK housing market remained subdued in November, according to the RICS residential market survey, with the main indicators tracking activity hovering in negative territory. However, in part driven by the slower pace of sales, average sales per surveyor have now slipped for three consecutive months, stock levels on estate agents' books held broadly steady at 44.7.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said that the move was unlikely to affect the market.

RICS members expect prices to fall over the next three months - though less sharply than they thought a couple of months ago - and now expect prices to rise over the next year. However, near-term sales and price predictions remain modest with respondents' feedback suggesting that economic uncertainty paired a with a shortage of new instructions could be suppressing activity. RICS said negative sentiment in London, the South East and East Anglia offset a more positive outlook elsewhere.

The outlook for the next 12 months is positive, to a greater or lesser degree, in virtually all areas.

Recent research by the Bank of Scotland showed that Scotland has suffered the largest fall in sales of top end properties anywhere in Britain, after deals for homes worth upwards of £1 million fell by more than a third.

Hew Edgar, RICS policy manager for Scotland, said: "Once again, the most common theme returned from Scotland's survey respondents involves LBTT and the negative impact it is having on the middle house price bracket and above".

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Surveyors said that in November, when the announcement was made, there was a slowdown in the decline of inquiries from new buyers.

Nearly half (49 per cent) noted that appraisals were lower, with just 15 per cent reporting an increase. Regionally speaking, London respondents remain the most hesitant about near-term price growth, contrasting to the sentiment in Wales, Northern Ireland, and the North West, where confidence is far more prevalent. The reports says that this does not bode particularly well for the new instructions pipeline in the near future.

"It is perhaps not surprising that the headline indicators for both prices and activity are subdued as Christmas approaches", he said.

He adds: "It remains to be seen whether the scrapping of stamp duty for first time buyers announced in the Budget will provide much of a lift for the market".

"However, if the move does trigger a wider debate about how best to tax property, it will serve a useful role".


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