Following the General Election result, the UK housing market has seen a lift in sentiment, according to the December 2019 RICS Residential Market Survey. Sales expectations have risen sharply, and a number of other key activity metrics have turned positive for the first time in several months.
That said, this change in activity levels is expected to lead to house price rises in the near and longer term due to continued imbalance in supply.
In December, 17% more survey respondents saw a rise rather than fall in enquiries from new buyers (up from -5% in November) at the headline level across the UK. Regionally, the majority of areas saw interest from new buyers increase, with respondents in Wales and the North East in particular reporting solid growth. Enquiries also rose in London and the South East, marking a noticeable turnaround from the negative results in November.
Alongside a rise in enquiries from buyers, the number of agreed sales edged up at the national level, (+9% net balance). This is the first time since May 2019 that the number of agreed sales has shown a positive result. Agreed sales in London and East Anglia delivered amongst the strongest improvement in sentiment, (net balances of +22% and +23% respectively), while sales reportedly weakened in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Sales expectations for the next three months are also positive, for the third month running, with +31% of respondents anticipating transactions will rise. This sentiment is mirrored for sales prospects over the next twelve months, which have seen an even greater improvement. A net balance of +66% of survey participants predict that sales will rise in the year ahead (up from +35% previously). The strongest net balances were returned in Wales and the South West, although all regions are showing strong improvement.
- Sales expectations improve noticeably – first time since May 2019 a positive result has been recorded
- Sales expectations for the next 12 months rise to a net balance of +66% (from +35% in November)
- Enquiries from buyers rise, as instructions also increase over the month
- House prices expected to rise over the next three / twelve months
RICS Press Release 16/01/2020