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U.K. Housing Market Stays Stuck in Low Gear

The U.K. housing market began 2018 on a subdued note as demand and sales drifted lower.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said Thursday its national gauge of prices remained at eight last month -- a level consistent with a marginal increase in prices. Values in London continued to fall, the survey suggested, as more expensive parts of the capital experienced tougher conditions.

New buyer inquiries fell for a 10th month in January, while new agreed sales continued a decline that began in February last year. That’s indicative of a market under pressure from slower economic growth and a squeeze on consumers’ incomes since the referendum to leave the European Union in 2016.

“The latest RICS results point to housing transactions at a headline remaining pretty subdued over the coming months,” said RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn. “Lack of inventory on agents’ books continues to provide a major challenge, with the number of valuations being undertaken not suggestive of a pickup in new supply anytime soon.”

There were some positive signs among the brokers questioned for the survey. Allan Fuller Estate Agents in London said January had been “much busier” after a December slump, while Oakland Surveyors, also in the capital, noted “more buoyancy than at the start of last year.”

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