UK residential real-estate market weaker on widespread price falls

UK residential property price falls spread during October, the RICS latest housing survey showed. Meanwhile, revenues at the UK's largest estate agency, Countrywide, fell 7%.

UK residential real-estate market weaker on widespread price falls

UK residential property price falls are spreading from London and the south east, according to a new report Thursday.

The latest housing survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) adds that sales growth is slower. And, the UK’s largest estate agency, Countrywide, reported a 7% year-on-year drop in revenues.

The monthly survey from the RICS shows that on average across the UK, property prices were little changed in October from September, as more regions experience price falls.

Not only is that in contrast the upbeat commercial property sector, it’s also at odds with the latest Halifax and Nationwide house price reports.

Price declines spread

While the value of residential property in London and south-east England have been on a downward slope for some time, surveyors responding to the RICS survey said this detail had changed. In October, home prices in east Anglia and the north east of England had also fallen.

Meanwhile, demand for property weakened across most UK regions, the RICS said. And, some 62% of surveyors said property sales prices were below the asking price for properties valued between £500,000 and £1 million. That’s up from 57% in July.

Looking ahead, surveyors anticipate little change in residential property prices over the next three months. However, their collective 12-month outlook has turned negative.

“The combination of the increased cost of moving, a lack of fresh stock coming to the market, uncertainly over the political climate and now an interest rate hike appears to be taking its toll on activity in the housing market,” said RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn.

Countrywide results disappoint

The UK’s largest estate agency, Countrywide, Thursday published its third quarter results. They didn’t make for a positive perusal.

First, while revenues were up 2% from the second quarter, they were 7% lower than a year earlier. And, looking at just estate agency figures, third quarter revenues were £47.8 million, down from £57.0 million the same period a year earlier.

As such, Countrywide’s CEO, Alison Platt said: “The market for housing transactions remains challenging and is likely to be down overall compared with 2016.”

“As in previous years, the final quarter remains important and we currently expect our results for the full year to be towards the lower end of the range of market expectations,” Platt added.

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