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Surveyors warn uncertainty is stifling housing market

Surveyors warn uncertainty is stifling housing market

Political uncertainty is stifling the housing market, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

The survey asked surveyors what they think of the state of the housing market, and this time asked additional questions about why the market is as it is.

Four out of 10 (44 per cent) identified domestic political uncertainty as the biggest factor explaining the current state of the market.

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This compared to 27 per cent who highlighted Brexit as the most important factor influencing the housing market at the moment. 

Figures from the surveyors showed house price growth losing momentum in the south of the country with 45 per cent more respondents seeing a decline in prices over the month of June.  

However, in Northern Ireland, 41 per cent more surveyors saw a rise in prices rather than a fall in June and in Wales 38 per cent of respondents saw an increase rather than fall in prices over the month.  

The West Midlands and the north west are also regions where prices continue to increase and reported net balances of 33 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

However, lack of supply in the market may continue to push up prices.

New instructions fell for the sixteenth month in a row, with average stock levels slipping to a new low.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: "High end prime properties may be seeing prices slipping back but, for good or ill, prices are continuing to move higher in many other segments of the market.

“Perhaps not surprisingly in the current environment, the term ‘uncertainty’ is featuring more heavily in the feedback we are receiving from professionals working in the sector.

"This seems to be exerting itself on transaction levels which are flatlining and may continue to do so for a while particularly given the ongoing challenge presented by the low level of stock on the market.”

Michael O'Brien, managing director of Access Financial Services in Dagenham, said: “Obviously Brexit is a factor, but I think that people also underestimated the effect of buy-to-let as a proportion of the market.

"When that was taken away it had more of an effect than people expected.”

rosie.murray-west@ft.com