Estate agents report ‘uplift’ in housing market

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There has been an “uplift” in sentiment in the housing market following the general election, according to a survey of property professionals.

Sales expectations had “risen sharply”, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said.

House sales rose last month for the first time in seven months, boosted by higher activity in London and the South East of England.

However, sales slowed in Northern Ireland and Scotland, RICS said.

In most parts of the country homeowners hoping to sell up will be cheered by RICS’ latest monthly report, which asks its members about their current business and expectations for the months ahead.

The report for December suggests interest from new buyers is growing, especially in Wales and the North East of England.

“The signals from the latest RICS survey provides further evidence that the housing market is seeing some benefit from the greater clarity provided by the decisive election outcome,” said Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist.

“Whether the improvement in sentiment can be sustained remains to be seen given that there is so much work to be done over the course of this year in determining the nature of the eventual Brexit deal.

“However, the sales expectations indicators clearly point to the prospect of more upbeat trend in transactions emerging with potential purchasers being more comfortable in following through on initial enquiries,” he added.

RICS members reported house prices continuing to fall in some parts of the country especially in south-east England, London and East Anglia, but most expected house prices to rise over the course of the year.

Figures out on Wednesday from the Office for National Statistics suggested in the UK as a whole house price growth was accelerating with a rise of 2.2% in the year to November 2019 up from 1.3% in the year to October.

Over the last year average house prices had jumped by 7.8% in Wales to £173,000, the latest ONS house price index showed.

In England average house prices increased by 1.7% to £251,000. In Scotland they rose 3.5% to £155,000 and Northern Ireland the average house price was 4% higher at £140,000.


By Laura Price

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