RICS survey shows Brexit concerns for housing market

A report released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has indicated that the number of houses being sold, and their prices, will fall over the next quarter. This is on top of longer selling periods and a possible slowdown in housebuilding as a result.

The survey was carried out during November 2018 and has shown that most surveyors are more pessimistic about the housing market than they were just one month before. Houses are also taking, on average, 4 months to sell, the longest time period since this has been measured. This could be due to the increased risk of a no-deal Brexit and the possible 30% fall in house prices as predicted by the Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn has stated that the feedback they have received shows that Brexit is taking its toll on the housing market. He says that he cannot recall a previous survey where a single issue had been highlighted by so many contributors. He also expresses concern at how this could impact development and house building plans needed to address the housing crisis.

The results show that surveyors expect uncertainty to continue for another two years and one contributor stated that the Brexit negotiations were now looking farcical and that anything could happen in the next few months.

The figures are backed by another survey released by The Halifax which shows that house prices rose by just 0.3% in November compared with the previous year and that they had fallen by 1.4% during October. Month on month data has also shown a fall over the last 3 out of 4 months. It has been suggested that these results could be to do with the typical Christmas slowdown, however, political turmoil will make long-term commitments such as buying a house seem less attractive.