London house purchase enquiries up despite national downturn

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Lack of new stock continues to hamper activity, says Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

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ondon seems more resilient to the creeping downturn in the house sales market with an upturn of 7% in property enquiries last month in comparison to a 27% downturn across the UK, according to June figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

An ease in demand from new buyers has seen the volume of sales over the month dip for the second time nationally with 13% fewer fewer buyers reported a fall in newly agreed sales.

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RICS said that the lack of new stock also continues to hamper market activity, with the picture across the UK more of less flat regarding new properties being listed for sale.

Moreover, this time appra are reporting little change in the market backdrop is compared to last year, suggesting the tight supply backdrop is unlikely to change drastically in the short term, the body said.

The lack of available stock means that house prices continue to drift higher despite the recent cooling in demand.

RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn, said: “Pricing across much of the housing market remains resilient for now with a shortage of stock continuing to be a feature highlighted by many to the survey. Although buyer enquiries have predictably slipped a little of late, this needs to be placed in the context of the healthy level of demand in previous months.”

Half of those surveyed by RICS reported that average sales prices were coming in above asking prices for properties listed at up to £500,000.

For properties priced between £500,000 and £1 million, 39% were seeing the sales price beat the asking price. For properties listed at more than £1 million, the picture is a little different, as are seeing that the sales price for properties are coming in slightly below the asking price.

In the lettings market, rents are forecast to rise, due to the continued imbalance between supply and demand.

More than half (52%) of those surveyed by RICS said that they predicted rents would rise over the coming three months.

Jonathan Hale, head of government affairs for the UK & Ireland at RICS, said: “Regardless of who is set to become the next PM, and indeed how their cabinet will look, housing needs to be prioritised.

“The latest survey points to a further decline in housing availability and rents in the lettings sector show no signs of falling. Any future government agenda needs to look to expand the owner occupied, social housing and the private rented sector, and not just limited just to new builds.”


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