U.K. Property Market Still Subdued as Brexit Weighs on Prices

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House price growth in the U.K. remained weak in April as the slump in southeast England and London depressed the market, the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed.

The index was unchanged as a dip in new buyers weighed on prices, the report said Thursday. Expectations for the next three months are for flat or declining sales across all of Britain.

U.K. Property Market Still Subdued as Brexit Weighs on Prices

The country’s protracted departure from the European Union has been weighing on the housing market for months, hitting the south east and the capital particularly badly. Contributors to the survey continued to cite Brexit as a damping factor. Landlords are also likely to exit the market because of changes to eviction laws and a ban on rental fees, respondents said.

Sellers are becoming “more realistic” about pricing as the market slows, the report said. Sales expectations over the next twelve months showed a slight improvement.

“Although there are signs of greater realism on pricing from vendors, there is little conviction in the feedback from respondents to the survey that activity in the housing market will pick up anytime soon,” said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS. “The key RICS buyer enquiries indicator remains subdued and sales expectations looking a year out are only modestly positive.”

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research became the latest body to try to put a price on Brexit on Thursday, with a report suggesting that British GDP in the longer term will be around 3 percent lower in a U.K.-EU customs union than it would have been had the nation stayed in the bloc. That’s equivalent to a loss of around 800 pounds per person per year.

Here’s a roundup of comments made by agents in the RICS survey:

Stephen Gadsby -- Gadsby Nichols in central England:

“The market is quiet especially bearing in mind the time of year. Brexit is still creating uncertainty.”

James Wilson -- Jackson-Stops, southwest England:

“New instructions are increasing, buyers remain cautious.”

Tim Green -- Green & Co., in southeast England:

“Moves of necessity continue, aspirational moves are likely to remain rare until our political future is clearer.”

Allan Fuller -- Allan Fuller Estate Agents, Putney, London:

“The amount of property coming on to the market has reduced. Easy to blame everything on Brexit but the continual uncertainty and gloom is seemingly making people reticent to take any major life decisions.”

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