Brexit uncertainty continues to slowdown Yorkshire housing market

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Yorkshire and the Humber’s housing market has seen buyer enquiries, sales and the volume of properties coming on to the market all fall last month, according to the RICS Residential UK Market Survey.

In February, 76% of respondents in the region cited Brexit uncertainty as the biggest challenge holding back the housing market.

Buyer demand in Yorkshire and Humber fell for the third consecutive month in a row, as 31% more respondents reported a drop in the number of new buyer enquiries during February.

In addition to Brexit, the continued lack of stock appears to be holding back buyer demand, as respondents cited this as the next biggest challenge after Brexit.

February is the fourth consecutive month where respondents have reported a decrease in the number of sales properties coming on to the market. Average stock levels remain at an all-time low.

The time taken to complete sales is also at record levels. In February, the average time taken to sell a property in Yorkshire and Humber was 21 weeks – from listing to completion – whereas nationally it is 19.4 weeks.

The region’s agents also reported a fall in the volume of agreed sales last month and 21% of respondents expect sales to continue dropping over the next three months.

The downcast sales activity has resulted in prices slipping in Yorkshire and Humber, with just 1% of agents in the region reporting a rise in house prices during the month of February (down from 21% in Jan).

In the lettings market, 11% of respondents reported a rise in tenant demand (down from 39%), whilst landlord instructions also fell. Over 25% of respondents expect rents to rise over the coming three months.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Although activity in the housing market continues to be weighted down by the lack of available stock, changes in the tax regime affecting property, and affordability; feedback to the latest RICS survey makes it pretty clear that the ongoing uncertainty around how Brexit will play out is the critical factor influencing both buyers and sellers.

“And with little sign that the issue will be resolved anytime soon, it could prove to be a challenging spring for the housing market and the wider economy.”

Hew Edgar, RICS Head of Policy (Interim), added: “It is clear from recent month’s survey results that the wearisome state of British politics that has arisen from Brexit – particularly in the last six months – continues to take their toll on UK housing.

“Taking Brexit out the equation, there are clear issues that need to be tackled such as supply; a disputable SDLT framework; and a faltering PRS system. All of which have been overshadowed and have therefore not received the much-needed parliamentary discussion and debate.”