UK housing market 'set to rebound in 2020'

Surveyors are expecting UK house sales and prices to increase in 2020 as long as current political uncertainties are resolved, according to a new survey.

Townhouses in Primrose Hill, London

Townhouses in Primrose Hill, London

As Britons went to the polls in Thursday's general election, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published the survey showing that its members were more confident than they had been for almost three years that the market would pick up in the coming months.

The UK housing market, the economy and Brexit

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the RICS, said, "Confidence is critical to a well-functioning housing market and, whatever happens in the general election, it is important that the new government provides reassurance both over the stewardship of the economy and the ongoing challenges around Brexit, which continues to be highlighted in a disproportionate number of remarks made by respondents to the RICS survey."Significantly, despite the inevitable near-term concerns, the feedback regarding the medium-term view of the market remains surprisingly sanguine, with the 12-month sales expectations indicator at its best level since the early part of 2017."

UK residential property prices drop but RICS expects a rebound next year

The RICS said that political uncertainty over Brexit and a hung parliament had been stifling the housing market. The latest survey showed that prices dropped last month by the most since April.The number of both buyers and sellers has continued to fall throughout the year, although the opinion of many surveyors was that the drop in sales now seemed to be bottoming out, with the proportion of RICS members expecting a rebound in activity next year rising to its highest since February 2017.Since the 2016 Brexit referendum, there has been a general slowdown in the market, with prices falling in London and surrounding areas. The latest survey showed that demand from prospective buyers, new instructions to sell, and actual sales all fell in November, with average stock levels on estate agents' books remaining close to an all-time low at about 41 properties per branch.But property professionals' expectations for house sales picking up over the coming year are at their most positive levels since February 2017, the report found.However, the RICS survey suggested growing confidence in a solid increase in transactions in the new year in virtually all areas of the country, with an accompanying increase in prices.

Buyers and sellers: affordability and confidence in the property market for 2020

Jeremy Leaf, a London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said, “New buyer enquiries and listings [are] lower than last month but not falling as quickly as previously, despite significant political and seasonal distractions.“What we have also noticed, which is unlikely to be picked up by national surveys for a while, is the quiet determination of increasing numbers of realistic buyers and sellers to take advantage of improved affordability and a little more confidence in market prospects for 2020.”

Participate in the next RICS residential property market survey

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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