Homebuyer interest rises in the UK for first time since November 2016
New homebuyer interest rose across the UK in June for the first time since November 2016, as a more stable trend began to emerge in the UK housing market.
While commentary from respondents remained "generally a little downbeat", contributors to the June edition of the RICS UK Residential Market Survey reported a rise in buyer demand, while new instructions held steady and newly agreed sales edged into positive territory for the first time in over two years.
In June, 10% more respondents reported a rise in interest from new buyers, which was the first time in two and a half years that the survey had reported a rise in new buyer enquiries at the national level.
RICS' survey also indicated that as buyer interest picked up, signs of more stable trends seemingly began to appear.
"The new instructions indicator has now edged into positive territory for the first time in a year. However, with stock levels on estate agents' books still around record lows, and appraisals lower now than at this time last year, it remains to be seen if this change will have a material impact on the supply issue," said RICS.
The newly agreed sales net balance rose 2% in June - marking the first time in ten months where survey participants did not report a decline - and sales expectations for the coming quarter suggested that the stable trend was likely to continue, according to RICS. Further ahead twelve-month sales expectations were also "more positive".
RICS' chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: "The latest data provides further evidence of the sales market settling down but I don't get the impression from the insight provided by contributors that this is fuelling hope of a significantly more active market going forward. Many of the factors that have provided a challenge during the first half of the year remain unresolved."
In terms of price growth, house price movement appeared to "be flatlining at the national level", while at the regional level, with the exception of London, the South East and East of England, the country was showing growth.
Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics said: "The Brexit extension has provided just enough time for the housing market to recover. The house price balance rose to its highest level since October 2018 and to a level consistent with year-over-year growth in the official measure of house prices of about 2.0%.
"Meanwhile, households are for now largely unfazed by the risk of a no-deal Brexit — GfK’s measure of their confidence in their personal finances has risen since Q1 and is above its long-run average—and their real disposable income still is growing briskly. So provided a no-deal Brexit does not come to pass, house price growth should soon start to turn the corner."