UK surveys say housing market is stagnant
According to recent UK surveys the housing market is currently ‘stagnant’, with stock levels at a new record low.
The UK surveys were carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which revealed that the number of potential buyers are extremely low, meaning sales had stagnated throughout March overall across the country.
However, the UK surveys did emphasise that due to the shortage of housing overall there were many areas of the UK to which the slump didn’t apply – in pockets of the North West, for example, where prices are still slowly rising and sales remain high. Somewhat surprisingly, overall prices in central London are continuing to fall.
It’s certainly a tough time for surveyors and estate agents at the moment. The UK surveys showed that estate agents currently have just 43 properties on their books for sale on average, which is the lowest number recorded since 1994. Other UK surveys on house sales have said that the number of completed transactions could fall by almost 11% this year, and that home ownership is at its lowest level for 30 years.
Other recent UK surveys, such as the house price survey by the Office for National Statistics stated that house prices grew at 5.8% leading up to February. However, two of the UK’s biggest lenders, Nationwide and Halifax, both commented that house price inflation is moderating, and the Bank of England’s latest UK survey results certainly imply that fewer loans are being offered to buyers.
Why are UK surveys saying the housing market is stagnant?
Experts have said that speculation surrounding Brexit, coupled with many years of increasing property prices, is accounting for some of the slowdown. In addition, tougher lending criteria, stamp duty rises and a drop in loan approval rates are also behind the stagnation. In response, sellers reported in UK surveys an average of 10 months on the market before they were able to sell their properties.
So what do the UK survey results mean for us?
There is little doubt that an adjustment on property prices in the UK was inevitable. Such steep rises in a small period of time was bound to have a knock-on effect, and perhaps the slow-down will be beneficial for some. For first time buyers, this could make a step onto the property ladder more of a realistic goal – but only if they are able to satisfy the tougher loan criteria by the lenders.
Of course, we cannot forget the owners who may have bought at the peak and who now may be facing negative equity due to falling prices – not to mention difficulty in moving up the ladder. It will also be a hard time for those trying to downsize or for older people needing to move into care homes. The 10 month average selling time will undoubtedly be extremely difficult for many.
Perhaps we are moving more towards a European-style renting society – yet this comes with its own pros and cons. We may just be seeing the end of how much us Brits value owning our own property. Then again, it may all change again in a year. Who knows. Only the future UK surveys will be able to tell us.
What do you think of falling property prices? Are the UK surveys showing the housing market slump worrying to you? Or do you think it’s a good thing? Let us know by joining the discussion on our Facebook page, and don’t forget to take our paid surveys online and earn cash for surveys today at Opinion Outpost UK.