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RICS survey shows expectations for Q1 are at a 20-year low

The UK housing market ended 2018 on a weak note with uncertainty still biting, alongside continuing lack of stock and affordability issues, according to December 2018 Residential Market Survey by RICS.

Key activity indicators continued to slip in December with national sales volumes dwindling, although beneath this headline figure some areas of the UK saw a more positive trend (East Anglia, Wales, the North East and Northern Ireland).

Moving forward, however, over the next three months sales expectations are now either flat or negative across all parts of the UK, with the headline net balance of -28% representing the poorest reading since the series was formed in 1999.

However, the 12 month outlook is a little more upbeat, suggesting that some of the near term pessimism is linked to the lack of clarity around what form of departure the UK will make from the EU in March.

In terms of prices, the headline indicator slipped slightly deeper into negative territory during December, falling to -19% from -11% in November. This marks the fourth consecutive negative reading. Nevertheless, the UK-wide measure is still masking regional differences, and with the exception of London and the South East, prices are anticipated to either rise or hold steady across the other UK regions this year.

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