Subdued East Midlands housing market in run up to Christmas, with little improvement anticipated

This story is over

There is a subdued East Midlands housing market in the run up to Christmas, according to the November 2017 RICS UK Residential Market Survey.

In November, sales activity and buyer interest remained negative in the region.

Contributors are dubious that the market will gain any momentum moving into 2018, with the short-term outlook for activity for sales remaining broadly flat.

November saw a marked decline in new instructions, as the supply crisis continues. This follows a slight improvement in October.

However, in part driven by the slower pace of sales, stock levels on estate agents’ books held broadly steady.

New buyer enquiries in the East Midlands also fell this month, for a second month in a row. In November, 16% more respondents noted a decline in demand (as oppose to an increase), compared to -12% in October.

Newly agreed sales continued to edge lower in the region, with 17% more respondents seeing a fall rather than rise.

Sales expectations in the East Midlands remain flat for the coming three months.

Respondents across the region to the UK Residential Market survey suggest activity will continue to be impacted by the continued shortage of new instructions, alongside general economic uncertainty.

The subdued picture around new instructions and the consequential lack of supply, continues to underpin price growth across the region this month, with 33% more respondents seeing prices rise over the last three months.

The East Midlands continues to display a relatively strong price picture in comparison to other regions. London continues to see the most negative sentiment, 54% more contributors seeing a fall in prices rather than a rise.

Looking forward, the three month price expectations for the East Midlands are more or less flat at the regional level as the net balance moved to -2% from +4% in October.

In the lettings market, interest from prospective tenants fell back (on a non-seasonally adjusted basis) for a second consecutive month, with the net balance coming in at -12%.

Alongside this, new landlord instructions continued to decline, and this broadly balanced picture is leading to near term rental expectations flattening out further over the month (net balance moderated to +6%).

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist said: “It is perhaps not surprising that the headline indicators for both prices and activity are subdued as Christmas approaches.

“It remains to be seen whether the scrapping of stamp duty for first time buyers announced in the Budget will provide much of a lift for the market.

“There was not much evidence of this in the latest survey, which was conducted after the change in policy, and while most independent analysis casts doubt on whether there will be much follow through, it is still early days.

“However, if the move does trigger a wide debate about how best to tax property, it will serve a useful role.”