Two reports have revealed a conflicting picture of the market, with portal listings suggesting supply is on the up, but surveyors today claim agency stock is close to record lows.
Research by property website Home.co.uk – based on listings across a range of portals and agents’ own websites – claims supply is up 7% year-on-year and that the total stock for sale has increased by 8.8%, with the east of England hit with an “over-abundance of property” where listings are up 15% annually.
The report says price growth is trending to zero as stock levels move up.
It found asking prices were down 0.3% between August and September to £308,786, a 0.9% annual increase.
However, surveyors are reporting a very different picture of the market.
The RICS said this morning that the average inventory of unsold stock on estate agents’ books across the UK fell to 42 last month, close to the historic lows of 41.8 posted in February this year, while 15% more surveyors have seen a decline rather than a fall in new instructions, suggesting a lack of fresh stock coming to the market.
The RICS August Residential Market Survey, based on just 313 responses, also reports the most negative reading for newly agreed sales for five months.
More surveyors (6%) also saw a decline rather than an increase in new enquiries.
There are regional differences though, with the south-west reporting 15% more saw a rise rather than fall in new instructions. More surveyors in this region, along with Scotland and Northern Ireland, also saw an increase rather than a decrease in sales.
There was also a regional split in terms of sales expectations, with 60% of surveyors more positive rather than negative in Northern Ireland.
Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire & the Humber, west midlands and the east midlands were also more positive than negative.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist for RICS, said: “It is clearly very difficult to talk about the housing market at the moment without being acutely aware of the marked differences in trends across the UK.
“As the latest RICS results highlights, in many parts of the country the housing market actually remains quite firm.
“While a combination of a lack of stock and some level of uncertainty, both relating to the interest rate outlook and Brexit, has had an impact on activity, the overall picture in these areas is still encouraging.
“The story in London and the south east is, as has been widely recognised, rather more challenging but it is important that this is not seen as being indicative of the wider market.”