It noted that September saw a fall in listings, following three straight months of “stable” numbers. The instructions net balance dropped to -37 per cent, the worst reading since June 2016.
This has contributed to stock levels on estate agent books remaining near record lows, while RICS noted that buyers were also adopting a more “cautious approach”. Respondents reported a -15 per cent drop in new buyer enquiries, with activity falling in almost every region of the UK. In addition, nine per cent more respondents expect sales to fall over the next three months than rise, suggesting sales will continue to be subdued.
On house prices, RICS reported a mixed picture across the UK. While Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North West saw “solid gains”, prices in London and the South East struggled. Over the next three months a net balance of -16 per cent of surveyors expect prices to fall. However, it moves back into positive territory when surveyors were asked to predict how house prices will shift over the next 12 months. On lettings, demand from prospective tenants rose for the eighth month in a row. Despite this instructions fell once again, with a net balance of 24 per cent of surveyors now predicting rents will rise over the next three months. Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, cautioned that unless there is a “speedy resolution” to the Brexit impasse it seems “inevitable” that the stand off between buyers and sellers will deepen, making it tougher to complete transactions. He continued: “This will not only be a direct hit on the housing market itself but could have ramifications for the wider economy as the normal spend on furniture, fittings and appliances that typically accompanies a house move is also put on hold.”