The UK housing market has endured a slow start to the year as key activity measures for both buyers and sellers fell further in January.
Enquiries, sales and new instructions all declined in January as uncertainty continues to wear away at confidence, according to research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).
New buyer enquiries fell for the sixth successive month in January, while demand slipped across almost all parts of the UK.
The figures revealed the number of new properties listed on the sales market also dropped to its lowest level since July 2016. Agreed sales also took a tumble, with the rate of decline gaining pace compared to the previous month.
Rics said forecasts for the coming three month remain gloomy, as uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues to take its toll.
But the long-term outlook is more positive, Rics said, with 16 per cent of those surveyed expecting sales to rise over the next 12 months.
Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Although some contributors to the survey have taken comfort from a better start to the year than anticipated, a larger proportion are continuing to find the market a difficult one in which to do business.
“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 figures showed house price growth slowed for its four consecutive month, mainly dragged down by London and the south east.
The sluggish growth reflects the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Land Registry, which revealed house prices rose at their slowest pace since 2013 in December.
But Rics said the lettings market has proved more robust, with tenant demand rising modestly in the three months to January. Despite this, new landlord instructions slowed for the eleventh successive quarter.
Source: City AM