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Buyer enquiries and sales stabilise in April, as house prices dip

House prices at a national level dipped marginally in April, while they continue to fall in London and the South East in particular, according to the April 2018 RICS UK Residential Market Survey.

As sales and new buyer interest appeared to hold steady after seeing declines in previous months, the national RICS Price balance slipped to -8% in April, having been flat in both February and March. Although this figure signals only a slight decline at this stage, it is still the most negative figure since November 2012. 

The regional price picture is still mixed, and the national reading is being heavily weighed down by the feedback from London, where 65% more respondents saw prices fall over the month rather than rise (which is the weakest reading since February 2009). Falling prices were also still being reported in the South East, and also in the South West for the first time since May 2013. By way of contrast, house prices continue to rise in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Looking ahead, the near term outlook for prices remains broadly flat, but further out, 31% more respondents expect house prices to be higher in a year’s time. Nearly all areas of the UK show positive twelve month price expectations, however, expectations remain downbeat in London, with 20% more respondents predicting a further decline over the year to come.

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