UK Housing Market Slows Amid Brexit Concerns

UK Housing Market
People walk past a house decorated with England flags on a residential street in Dagenham, east London (Photo: Reuters)

The ever-looming threat of a no-deal Brexit has hampered quite a lot of businesses in the UK and it seems like it is doing more of the same to its housing market. Brexit is reportedly now playing a key role in dragging the housing market activity in the country, with prices expected to fall even more in the coming months.

According to surveyors, average stock levels on their books have reached record lows. The UK's Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors experienced average stock levels on their agent's books of around 42 properties per branch last month. The number is actually a little bit higher after the company's stocks fell below 42 properties in February.

Apart from the smaller number of available properties, interest from buyers to purchase has reportedly also diminished for the eighth month in a row. Surveyors have all agreed that demand for properties across the UK has fallen in recent months.

Chartered Surveyors also revealed that the average time for a property to sell has drastically increased to about 19 weeks on average. The average time includes the time the property or home is listed in the books to the time the sale is completed. The area with the longest average time for a property to sell is in the southeast of England, where sales take more than 21 and a half weeks to complete on average.

Major surveyors in the country have also reported decreases in house prices over the past few months. Some believe that prices may continue to fall in the coming quarters if the political situation does not get better. However, some believe that the decrease is simply a "modest fall" in prices at the national level and that prices may pick up over the longer term. Areas such as Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland are among the areas that are expected to quickly recover after the dip.

Despite the optimism towards the recovery of house prices, surveyors have agreed that places such as London and the areas in its southeast may continue to experience falling prices. According to a chief economist at Chartered Surveyors, Simon Rubinsohn, the biggest factor in the activity decline is still Brexit. Buyers in the UK are apparently still wary about committing to a property given the uncertainty that Brexit brings to the economy and to the country as a whole. Rubinsohn further points out that they still expect a decline in transactions over the coming months given the outlook of potential buyers in the UK.

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