U.K. Housing Market in Limbo Ahead of Election, RICS Says
A pedestrian passes the colorful facades of residential properties in the Notting Hill district of London, U.K. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

U.K. Housing Market in Limbo Ahead of Election, RICS Says

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(Bloomberg) --

Uncertainty surrounding the U.K.’s general election and Brexit are paralyzing the housing market, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The persistent lack of clarity has deterred both buyers and sellers, RICS said in the results for its November survey published Thursday. The headline index for prices fell to the lowest since April.

U.K. Housing Market in Limbo Ahead of Election, RICS Says

“Whatever happens in the general election today, it is important that the new government provides reassurance both over the stewardship of the economy and the ongoing challenges around Brexit,” said Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist. Those issues are “in a disproportionate number of remarks made by respondents,” he said.

U.K. Housing Market in Limbo Ahead of Election, RICS Says

New buyer enquiries slipped for a third month and there was a dip in transactions, RICS said. Average stock levels on estate agents’ books are close to record lows.

Still, sales expectations over the next three months look more stable, RICS said, as do expectations for the next year.

Here are comments from some of the real estate agents surveyed:

Simon Bainbridge, Savills in Darlington

“Brexit, general election, Christmas, rain. Need one say more.”

James Brown, Norman F Brown in Richmond, Yorkshire

“Of course we’re all just waiting for the election result now which will dictate which way the housing market goes in 2020.”

Alastair Boulton, Robert Bell & Company in Horncastle, Lincoln

“The housing market is more price sensitive than 12-18 months ago. The lower end of the market continues to move where pricing is accurate. Vendors at the upper end of the market are less willing to adjust their pricing, leading to fewer sales.”

Chris Charlton, Savills in Nottingham

“Surprising levels of new instructions but sales low which is to be expected in the new era of uncertainty. Roll on 2020.”

Stephen Gadsby, Gadsby Nichols in Derbyshire

“Very much a fluctuating market. Still Brexit uncertainty but lower priced properties still attracting interest.”

Tom Barter, Philip Laney & Jolly in Great Malvern

“It is hard to determine the likely effect on house prices in the next 3 months due to the unknown outcome of the election. A decisive outcome could help to stimulate activity in the New Year, a hung parliament is likely to mean status quo.”

James Perris, De Villiers in London

Whilst there continues to be reasonably strong underlying demand, buyers are reluctant to commit in any great numbers until the dual hurdles of an election and Brexit are resolved.”

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