Housing market remains slow


The housing market in the south west remained sluggish during January, due to continued lack of buyer demand and low levels of supply, says the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey.

3% more surveyors in the region reported that demand for property fell rather than rose (from -7 in December), indicating potential purchasers remain cautious about the outlook for the economy and the possibility of mortgage rate increases later in the year.

New instructions, which indicate supply levels to the market, were much more positive, however, with 21% more surveyors reporting instructions rose rather than fell , a significant improvement from -14% in December.

Newly-agreed sales continued to drop but saw a marked improvement from December’s dip. Weakness in market activity was also reflected in actual sales transactions, as average sales per surveyor (in the three months to January), remained low at 15.

Meanwhile, 28% more surveyors in the region reported house prices fell rather than rose in January.

Across the rest of the UK, all regions continued to record negative net price balances during January, with the East Midlands (-59) and Yorkshire and Humberside (-46) registering the weakest numbers.

Despite the slow market, surveyors remain cautiously optimistic about future prospects, with the sales expectations net balance registering a positive reading of 23. Meanwhile, price expectations remained negative, with 39% more surveyors predicting falls than rises.

Commenting on the situation here in Cornwall, Jeff Cole of Wadebridge-based Cole Rayment & White, said: “A very quiet start to the year although busier later in the month with a few good sales being agreed. There are some good buyers but they want ‘value for money’. Although many people are predicting prices to fall, this is not happening in certain areas due to a lack of instructions.”