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13/12/2018

Brexit sinks housing market to six-year low

Words: Huw Morris
'No deal' Brexit raising environmental fears / iStock-928445760

Brexit is taking an increasing toll on the UK housing market, which has declined to its weakest level in six years, according to surveyors.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) monthly survey of members reveals falling prices and lower demand from buyers and sellers in November.

More than half of respondents blamed Brexit uncertainty for the decline amid fears that this might soon affect housing development.

House prices dropped to a net balance of -11 per cent, the lowest since September 2012, while the number of people looking for a home fell to -21 per cent.

House prices dropped in London, the South East and East Anglia, while they have been broadly flat in the South West, East Midlands and North East. The number of sales fell, with the net balance down to -15 per cent from -10 per cent in October.

The survey also reveals that the number of new properties listed for sale fell for the fifth month, to a net balance of -24 per cent – the fastest rate of decline in more than two years. Estate agents have on average 42.1 homes for sale – close to record lows.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinstein said he could not recall a previous survey when so many respondents highlighted a single issue.

“The forward-looking indicators reflect the suspicion that the political machinations are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon,” he added.

“The bigger risk is that this now spills over into development plans, making it even harder to secure the uplift in the building pipeline to address the housing crisis.”

Image credit | iStock 

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