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Welsh housing market activity falls as Brexit uncertainty continues to be felt

Activity in the Welsh housing market fell for the second month in succession, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Residential Market Survey.

 

Welsh respondents pointed to house prices continuing to edge upwards, but the survey indicates that the number new instructions to sell, new buyer enquiries and newly agreed sales all fell in April.

The short-term outlook for the market in Wales is also relatively subdued, according to respondents.

 

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Surveyors expect sales activity to be broadly flat in the three months ahead, meanwhile the net balance for price expectations is +7, indicating that surveyors on balance expect prices to increase marginally in the three months ahead.

Brexit uncertainty appears to be a key factor in the market, with many surveyors anecdotally pointing to both buyer and seller indecision.

The hesitancy of sellers can be seen in the new instructions to sell balance, which remains close to a series low. This lack of property becoming available for sale appears to be leading to a scarcity of stock which is having an upward effect on prices.

RICS Residential Spokesperson for Wales, and Director of Kelvin Francis, Cardiff, Tony Filice FRICS, said: “Despite nervousness in the market, we did experience an increase in viewings, listings and sales agreed as the month wore on – perhaps a sign that the public are not prepared to wait for the outcome of Brexit.”

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Andrew Morgan of Morgan & Davies in Lampeter said: “It was a quieter spring than usual; less property on the market than for some years, but prices are being held up due to the level of scarcity”.

Clare Thomas Undertaking of JT Property Matters in Treorchy said: “I feel that Brexit has impacted the market with far fewer listings than usual. It does not however seem to have put buyers off to the same degree”.

The main findings of the latest survey for Wales were as follows (all figures indicate the net balance of respondents):

  • The headline price balance was +14% in the latest survey, indicating house prices edged upwards.
  • The price expectations balance for the next three months was +7% suggesting that respondents on balance expect prices to increase very modestly.
  • The sales expectations balance remains in negative territory, at -1%.
  • New buyer enquiries dropped in March, according to the balance of respondents (-46%)
  • The balance for newly agreed sales was -42%.
  • The number of new properties emerging on the market continues to fall, with the net balance for new instructions of -54% – one of the lowest rates in the UK.
  • A net balance of +42% of survey respondents expect house prices to rise in the next 12 months, but with a flat expectation for sales in the coming year.
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