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Sales Expectations Have Weakened in Almost All Parts of The UK, Says RICS

The latest August 2019: UK Residential Market Survey from RICS points to a renewed deterioration in near term expectations, with respondents anticipating a decline in activity over the next three months.

Brexit uncertainty is again highlighted as a significant factor causing hesitation amongst buyers and vendors. Nevertheless, a more stable trend in sales is envisaged at the twelve month horizon.

Following a couple of months in which new buyer enquiries increased modestly, August saw a flatter trend in demand at the national level. Indeed, a net balance of just +3% reported a rise over the month, with a reading so close to zero indicative of virtually no change. Meanwhile, on a UK-wide basis, the Newly Agreed Sales series inched slightly further into negative territory in the latest results (net balance -8% compared to -6% previously).

When disaggregated, most areas posted a flat or negative sales trend in August, with the East Midlands and South West regions displaying the weakest momentum over the survey period. At the other end of the scale, Wales and the North East of England appeared to buck the national trend, as respondents reported a solid increase in activity over the month.

Back at the national level, the average time taken to conclude a sale, from initial listing to completion, now stands at an average of roughly 18 weeks (slightly improved on the duration of 19 weeks being reported at the start of the year).

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