No turnaround in sight for housing market, say estate agents

The year has got off to a slow start, the RICS reported this morning.

Sales, new instructions and enquiries all fell during January, and the perennially gloomy RICS said that its member estate agents sensed “little prospect of a turnaround”.

While “modestly positive” about the longer term, the RICS said Brexit and high prices were causing sellers and buyers to hesitate.

During January, new buyer enquiries fell for the sixth month running across all parts of the UK, with the exception of Scotland – where demand was flat.

Agreed sales also fell again with the pace of decline gathering momentum.

Prices also continued to slip, with negative readings in London, the south-east, East Anglia and the south-west.

On lettings, the RICS said that tenant demand rose modestly in the three months to January. However, new landlord instructions continued to dwindle for the 11th quarter in a row.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said that agents were “continuing to find the market a difficult one in which to do business”.

He added: “Resolution of the Brexit negotiations is widely seen as critical to encouraging potential buyers back into the market although whether that will be sufficient in London and parts of the south-east where affordability remains stretched and the tax changes are most penal, remains to be seen.”

The RICS survey covered 542 branches, with 297 responses.


Email the story to a friend


  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    Buyers need to see value in the price.  So if things are not selling its generally priced out of the market.

    Reduce the price until it attracts attention.  If the vendor doesnt listen to your advice, don’t be frightened to lose the Instruction, which will enable you to work with a more motivated seller.

    It’s a numbers game, so play the game.

    Keep focused, keep positive.

    1. Ric

      Totally agree…

      Money still cheap to borrow – granted deposits are an issue, but always have been…

      Ask £11 for a £10 note, you wont sell it!

      1. Bless You

        Meanwhile , in the real world..

        1. Ric

          Do you mean my comment Bless You?

          Surprised if you do, as there is no doubt most property priced correctly is selling – or at least certainly in our area.

          We are walking away from daft prices and happy to be losing some of our vendors who have PDS to other touting agents…. let them waste their money and attract other sellers with PDS.

          3 to 6 months on you watch them thinking wtf did I tout that for…. which is the reason I don’t tout… you simply get rubbish stock shuffling around, as decent stock sells.

          I am finding more and more 2019 sellers are actually much more realistic, so it does surprise me if you say pricing realistically is not the real world answer. Unfortunately though, we just need more sellers.

          1. stillhaveapulse81

            There are only 3 reasons why a house does not sell… quite simple price, price, and price!!!

  2. David Clark

    If you owned a business and voted for it, and also relied on some untrustworthy politicians to deliver it properly then you are an idiot! Unfortunately, there are lots of people who have faith in UK democracy and probably shouldn’t.

    1. Bless You

      Be interesting to see how many rightmove accounts are creaking at the moment. 
      It looks like onThemarket is out of answers. 
      The industry needs to move now and switch. 
      I cant see what the problem is. If we all switched, purplebricks and connells woudl be dust in a few months….  
      With such a large reason to switch 100%..i cant see what the problem is..
      is it simply safety in numbers or are agent owners very very stupid…
      iam in the first camp…
      lord give me strength. 
      bless us all. 

      1. Bless You

        Maybe it would be right to have the BIG SWITCH OFF on 31st March 2019…
        The day the countries lights go out….

        1. Ric

          yeh… you switch off first, promise I will go next (I can hear my fellow local agents say).

  3. Realitycheck97

    …perennially gloomy RICS…?  Aw. That needs a response. Bless ‘em, but if you track the RICS Housing Market Survey, it calls the market changes before the data-driven surveys (Nationwide, etc.) and gets it right every time, year after decade. They might be gloomsters right now but they’re on point. Ignore at your peril. 

    1. aSalesAgent

      RICS forecasts price-drops, then then their surveyors start downvaluing properties…

      Self-fulfilled prophecies.

  4. charlie.wright

    2019 will be seen as the year that independent agents, while perhaps a little bruised and bloodied, won the battle against corporates and onliners, who continue to bleed out, close and retreat. Those independents that are still standing (or haven’t sold their businesses) can hold their heads high with pride. They were right, personal service counts more than anything else (glossy marketing, low fixed fees).

    In my view, market activity will pick up after Brexit because people’s need to move doesn’t stop, they are just postponing it until the uncertainty has passed. The second half of this year will be a sunny one.

    Now that the corporates and onliners have to all intents and purposes been seen off as a threat, the future belongs to independent agents operating the most efficiently. The difference I see is that there will be more one-man-band new start ups, among the younger agents who are more comfortable with technology, and will outsource to various suppliers rather than hire staff. Everything can be outsourced now, from viewings to sales progression, leaving the men and women on the street to build personal relationships with customers. These new agencies will give even better service than before, recover the fee levels to proper ones, and have lower overheads, meaning they will be able to make very good livings without being too busy. The only independents still at risk are the ones who wont let go of their old high-overhead model. It will eventually become simply impossible for them to compete, not because they aren’t great agents, but because the world is moving on to better efficiency, and if you stick to the old ways, it only gets harder. Ask the cabbies in London!


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.