The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has released its UK Residential Survey covering the month of September 2023. The report shows the continuation of a challenging market backdrop, with interest rates continuing to hamper mortgage affordability, and the disparity between tightening lettings supply and rising demand causing rental price rises.
The headline new buyer enquiries figure reported a (net balance) reading of -39% in September. Although still consistent with weak demand, the latest reading is marginally less negative than seen in the August data.
House prices remain on a downward trajectory at the national level. Indeed, the September net balance of -69% is barely changed from last month (-68%), signalling the pace that house prices are falling is consistent over the past couple of months. While almost all parts of the UK are witnessing house prices retreat, downward pressure appears most significant across the West Midlands and the South East of England.
Tarrant Parsons, senior economist at RICS, said: “With mortgage affordability still incredibly stretched, it is unsurprising that buyer activity across the housing market remained subdued in September. Although the decision to pause monetary policy tightening a few weeks ago provided a glimmer of relief for the market, interest rates are likely now set to remain on hold for a prolonged period.”