Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

U.K. Housing Momentum Ebbs as Buyer Interest and Sales Wane

  • Measure of new buyer enquiries drops to nine-month low: RICS
  • Supply of property shrinks as seller instructions decline

Demand for U.K. housing dropped to a nine-month low in April in a sign the property market continues to cool, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

A measure of inquiries from potential buyers fell to minus 4 from 1 in March, RICS said in its monthly survey of real-estate agents published Thursday. A gauge of instructions from sellers also declined.

Increases in home values have slowed this year as accelerating inflation erodes household incomes and Brexit clouds the economic outlook. RICS said anecdotal evidence also pointed to a lack of properties for sale, uncertainty ahead of the June 8 general election, and a previous rise in stamp duty as hampering activity.

“The bulk of the feedback we are receiving points to a fairly flat summer for both activity and prices,” Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said in an emailed statement.

Nationally, the RICS headline price index was unchanged in April and new listings for sale remained negative, leaving average properties on estate agents’ books close to record lows. A measure of near-term price expectations fell to a nine-month low.

In London, the company’s house price index rebounded after falling to its lowest since the depths of the financial crisis in March. Still, April was the 14th month of readings below zero for the capital.

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