Brexit continues to be ‘major drag’ on Yorkshire housing market

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Yorkshire and Humber’s housing market saw volume of sales, new buyer enquiries and sales instructions all fall last month, according to the RICS UK Residential Market Survey, March 2019.

In March, 39% of Yorkshire and Humber’s agents saw a fall in buyer enquiries (down from 33% in February).

As buyer interest in Yorkshire and Humber declined last month, a net balance of 40% of respondents also reported a fall in agreed sales during March. Looking ahead, 36% of agents in the region expect to see sales levels fall further over the coming three months.

Despite a reduction in sales, the ongoing decline in homes coming onto the sales market in Yorkshire and Humber continues, and is resulting in stock levels on estate agents’ books remaining low, at an average of 34 properties per branch.

Looking at prices, only 1% of respondents saw a rise rather than a fall in house prices last month. But 17% expect prices to rise over the coming 12-months.

In Yorkshire and Humber’s lettings market, demand from tenants rose, with 24% of agents reporting a rise in tenant demand, while landlord instructions remained level. On the back of this, 39% of contributors expect rents to grow over the coming three months.

Alex McNeil, MRICS of Bramleys in Huddersfield, said: “After a promising start to the year and despite kind winter weather, there are low levels of market activity. The market is at risk of suffering a cramp if it sits on its hands any longer.”

Ben Hudson, MRICS of Hudson Moody in York, added: “The shortage of properties coming onto the market due to Brexit uncertainty is hitting turnover, although new to market properties are selling well. The shortage is creating demand.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, also said: “Brexit remains a major drag on activity in the market with anecdotal evidence pointing to potential buyers being reluctant to commit in the face of the heightened sense of uncertainty.

“Whether any deal provides the shift in mood music envisaged by many respondents to the survey remains to be seen but as things stand, there is little encouragement to be drawn from key RICS lead indicators. We expect transactions to decline on this basis.

“Arguably more significant still are the signs that developers are continuing to adopt a more cautious stance with the trend in new residential starts now flatlining. Against this backdrop, there is little possibility of delivering the uplift in supply necessary to address the ongoing housing crisis.”

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