Surveyors predict more market gloom as time from listing to sale hits record high

Surveyors are warning of a renewed decline in buyer enquiries as the time taken to complete a sale from initial listing hit 19 weeks – the longest duration since RICS started recording the timeframe in February 2017.

The latest RICS Residential Market Survey showed that increasing numbers of surveyors saw new buyer demand fall, at 11% in September compared with 9% in August.

The figure had been stable in the previous four months, RICS said.

A fifth more saw a decline in market appraisals while 13% more saw agreed sales fall, from 9% a month before.

Respondents were uncertain about the future, with more surveyors expecting a decline rather than rise in sales over the next three and 12 months.

Surveyors cited a mixture of affordability constraints, a lack of stock, economic uncertainty and interest rate rises as holding back the market.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist for RICS, said: “There are a number of themes running through the comments of respondents this month but uncertainty relating to Brexit negotiations is at the very top of the list followed by references to the confidential remarks made by the Bank of England Governor to the Cabinet.

“All of this is not surprisingly taking its toll on the sales market with the key activity indicator in the survey flat or slightly negative in all parts of the country apart from Northern Ireland and Wales.

“That said, the recent announcement from the Prime Minister that the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap will be abolished is a bold move which over time could help address some of the very real challenges facing those looking to buy or rent property.

“There is no silver bullet that will immediately resolve this problem, but encouraging new entrants to deliver affordable homes is certainly part of the answer.”

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