House price falls now widespread, say surveyors

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The survey of a housing market that has been cooling since the June 2016 Brexit vote weighed on the share prices of British construction firms, which were mostly down 2-4 percent on the day.

Both demand and sales continue to soften at the national level, said RICS, with most regions displaying a flat to negative trend.

By contrast, the north west of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all gave readings which point to house price gains.

Respondents also reported a weakening picture in the South East, East Anglia, and the North East.

Lewis Johnton, Rics parliamentary affairs manager, said: "The last time the United Kingdom managed to build 250,000 homes a year was in 1978 - when councils built 44% of all new homes".

Some 60 per cent also reported lower offers for homes on the market priced between £500,000 and £1m.

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There was also a slight increase in new listings coming to the market in October, after deterioration in the first half of the year.

It's also taking longer to complete a sale, with the average time rising to 18.5 weeks nationally, up from 16.6 in February 2017. The two areas with a more pessimistic outlook were London and the South East.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said a lack of homes on the market, political uncertainty as Britain tries to negotiate its exit from the European Union and last week's first interest rate hike by the Bank of England since 2007 were all taking their toll on the housing market.

Rubinsohn added: "Prices do now seem under pressure at the more expensive end of the market with a further rise in the number of properties transacting at below the asking price. But it is important to not characterise the whole of the market by what is happening in parts of London and the wider South-East".

Samuel Dickey, residential property spokesperson for RICS, told the Belfast Telegraph: "We continue to see a relatively upbeat picture being painted of the Northern Ireland housing market, and surveyors anticipate that this will continue into 2018, albeit that there are some challenges, including limited supply, alongside rising inflation and the fact that interest rates are edging upwards".

Interest from buyers also continued to decline, with 20% more respondents seeing a fall in new buyer inquiries over the month. "If consumers are seeking to sell then pricing realistically is going to be key, as clearly there are still buyers out there who are motivated and want to move, but the dynamic is shifting slightly in some areas".

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