New report shows falling house sales persist amid 'subdued' London market

Sebastian McCarthy
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More surveyors have reported a decline rather than increase in house sales for every month since March 2017 (Source: Getty)

June marked the 16th consecutive month of falling house sales in London, according to the closely watched survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Prices in London continued to decrease, albeit at a lesser pace than the previous reports.

The report, which shows falling prices as well as sales, suggests London’s "subdued picture in the market will persist."

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Rics policy manager Geoff White said: "Faced with the uncertainty around Brexit, recent government changes and a shortage of skilled trades such as bricklayers, as identified by Sir Oliver Letwin, you can see how the new Housing Minister Kit Malthouse – the eighth person to have that title since 2010 – has his work cut out."

Housing expert Henry Pryor told City A.M.: "The fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year are going to be pretty bloody in the six months’ run-up to our actual divorce from the EU. People will be sitting on their houses until the dust blows over."

Pryor added: "Are buyers going to continue to be brave enough to invest when they look at all of this political turmoil and uncertainty?"

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In the RICS survey, around 41 per cent more surveyors reported a decrease rather than increase in house prices in June, a net trend that the industry has suffered since march 2016, while more surveyors reported a decline than a rise in house sales in June in a swing seen every month since March 2017.

Mark Readings, founder and managing director of online estate agency, House Network, said: "The RICS report indicates another dismal month for the London property sector, which is bad news for everyone. Since Brexit, the decline in London has got worse, with many international buyers simply staying away. In order to gain stability back in the market for London, the government will need to do more to support buyers as stamp duty is simply unaffordable for most first time buyers in the capital.

Readings added: "The market will only begin to show signs of recovery once political uncertainty fades and international confidence in London is regained. Once that happens I am confident London will return to being the vibrant property market it was."

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