UK house sales falter in December

UK house sales falter in December

The number of house sales in the UK faltered in December, according to the latest edition of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ UK residential market survey.

Predictions for expected new sales over the next three months have also pared back, the survey found.

According to the survey, the number of new house buyers rose only marginally in December, while new instructions to sell also failed to see any pick-up, marking the tenth straight month without any improvement.

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Respondents to the survey continued to highlight low stock levels as a key concern.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: “A familiar story relating to supply continues to drive both the sales and lettings markets impacting on activity, prices and rents.

“The eagerly awaited housing white paper should help to create a more positive framework for new build delivery but with the best will in the world, it is going to take time before the resulting uplift in the development pipeline begins to impact on the opportunities for either homebuyers or tenants.

“Meanwhile, the latest Rics survey provides further evidence that both price and rent pressures are continuing to spread from the more highly valued to more modestly valued parts of the market for good or ill.”

Meanwhile 24 per cent more chartered surveyors saw a rise rather than fall in prices in December.

Regionally, Central London was the only area where in which prices were falling, with the price indicator having remained in negative territory for 10 consecutive months.

Stephen Smith, director of Legal & General Housing Partnerships, said: “It is evident that there are factors which are continuing to drag on the market and depress transaction numbers.

“Whilst a limited supply of housing remains the focus, rising moving costs are also playing a role in deterring potential buyers.

“Stamp duty has increased dramatically in recent years amid ongoing house price inflation and can now form a major barrier to first-time buyers who already struggle to save for a deposit or older homeowners wanting to downsize.”