The number of surveyors reporting a drop in the level of properties coming to market rather than a rise was at its highest since June 2016 last month, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
A declining appetite from prospective buyers and political uncertainty, particularly surrounding Brexit, has driven a slowdown in new instructions, which also fell to a 16-month low in Lonon in April. Buyer enquiries and sales also remained negative in the capital, with 9 per cent more respondents forecasting a further fall in deals over the next three months.
Furthermore, 66 per cent more respondents to the survey reported a drop rather than an increase in London house prices during the month, following the trend seen in the previous month.
RICS suggested that those putting their houses on the market are becoming “inreasingly realistic” when it comes to their asking prices, implying that homeowners have been lowering their expectations about the sums which prospective buyers are willing to pay for a new home.
Commenting, RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Although there are signs of greater realism on pricing from vendors, there is little conviction in the feedback from respondents to the survey that activity in the housing market will pick-up anytime soon.”
Rubinsohn added that the RICS buyer enquiries indicator remains subdued, with “sales expectations looking a year out are only modestly positive”, a significant finding from the report.
Kent Reliance sales director Adrian Moloney said: "Brexit remains a drag on activity in the housing market, a trend likely to continue in the coming months. However, it’s important to remember that Brexit is just one factor affecting activity in the market. We have a clear problem around the supply of houses, while demand continues to increase. The average house price is currently eight times the typical wage in the UK and in the last decade alone, house prices have risen by 45%, while wages have risen half as quickly.
"This is leading to lower rates of home ownership amongst younger generations, not to mention frozen chains up and down the ladder. Evidently, more needs to be done to ensure we are meeting housing targets in order to truly boost activity and improve home ownership levels.”
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