Brexit Blamed as U.K. Housing Slips to Weakest in Six Years
(Bloomberg) -- The Brexit battering of the U.K. housing market has no end in sight.
An index of prices by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors slipped in November to the weakest level since 2012, while the outlook for pricing and sales for the next three month slumped. The persistent uncertainty around Britain’s impending exit from the European Union was the biggest complaint from respondents in the survey.
“I can’t recall a previous survey when a single issue has been highlighted by quite so many contributors,” said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS. “The forward-looking indicators reflect the suspicion that the political machinations are unlikely to be resolved any time soon.”
The report comes less than a week after Halifax said U.K. house prices are rising at the slowest pace in six years. Prime Minister Theresa May faced a confidence vote from her Conservative Party on Wednesday because of disagreements on what form Brexit should take. She won. But with three months to go until the U.K. is due to leave the bloc, it’s still not clear how it will happen.
Buyers and sellers across the price spectrum are now impacted by Brexit, according to Hew Edgar, head of policy at RICS. Buyers are putting off purchases as they await some certainty about a possible future detached from the EU, he said.
Here is a round up of the agents comments in the RICS survey:
Chris Clubley, Clubleys, in the north of England:
“The market is currently being affected by the uncertainty of Brexit and potential interest rate rises. We expect the market to remain difficult for the next two years.”
David Nesbit, D.M. Nesbit & Company, in the south east:
“Brexit, the Bank of England and Christmas -- what more to depress sentiment! A very difficult period is ahead.”
John Halman, Gascoigne Halman, in the north west:
“Everybody is holding their breath. If we have a soft landing, next year will be reasonable. If not, all bets are off.”
Tom Wilson, KingWest, in the east Midlands:
“Brexit has reduced liquidity through both vendor and buyer uncertainty without question. People do not appear to be moving unless they have to.”
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