Estate agents report lowest stock of homes since 1978


The average supply of housing stock has fallen to a record low with the housing market ‘stifled’ by uncertainty, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).




The RICS residential market survey in June found that the stock of properties on surveyors’ books had fallen for the 16th consecutive month, dropping to 42.5, which is the lowest number since the survey began back in January 1978.

Price rises in the south of England have stalled according to respondents, who expect sales activity to remain poor in the next year.

RICS’ poll figures showed that 44 per cent blamed political uncertainty as the biggest reason for the current state of the housing market, while 27 per cent identified Brexit as being the main factor.

However, in London, surveyors blamed stamp duty reforms, Brexit and the political climate equally for the slowing activity.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief executive of RICS, said: “High-end prime properties may be seeing prices slipping back but, for good or ill, prices are continuing to move higher in many other segments of the market.

“Indeed, the disaggregated data suggests that this will continue to be the case over the coming months.

“Perhaps not surprisingly in the current environment, the term ‘uncertainty’ is featuring more heavily in the feedback we are receiving from professionals working in the sector.

“This seems to be exerting itself on transaction levels which are flatlining and may continue to do so for a while particularly given the ongoing challenge presented by the low level of stock on the market.”

Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “Of course, the ongoing lack of supply seen in some areas is going to impact on the amount of transactions, as less stock available equates to less choice for buyers in practical terms, who may now just take a little longer to find what they are looking for.”

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