Yorkshire sales fall as demand '¨drops, but prices buck trend

Yorkshire's housing market continued to stutter in October, with both demand from buyers and agreed sales declining once more.

Thursday, 23rd November 2017, 9:35 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 11:50 pm
Prices have held up in Yorkshire, although as in the rest of the UK, numbers of sales have fallen, according to the latest RICS survey. (100421M27a)

With most UK regions showing a flat or negative trend in newly agreed sales, momentum in the market is likely to remain subdued in the near term, according to the October 2017 UK Residential Market Survey published by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

In October, interest from buyers continued to decline, with only one per cent of respondents seeing a rise in new buyer enquiries over the month. Furthermore, despite agents reporting a slight rise in the average number of homes on their books (48, up from 46 in September), house sales in the region failed to pick up during October.

Expectations for future sales are slightly more positive, with 21 per cent of respondents in Yorkshire and Humber expecting sales to rise over the coming three months.

But it seems buyers could be in for a long wait to move into a new home as the survey revealed that it is now taking longer to complete a sale, with the average time rising to 18.5 weeks nationally, up from 16.6 in February 2017 when the measure was first introduced.

In October, 25 per cent more agents in the region reported a rise in prices, in contrast with most UK regions, which saw a fall in house prices during October.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The combination of the increased cost of moving, a lack of fresh affordable stock coming to the market, uncertainly over the political climate and now an interest rate hike appears to be taking its toll on activity in Yorkshire’s housing market.

“With both buyer enquiries slipping and sales expectations also subdued, the sense is that home-owners are staying put and first-time purchasers are increasingly focusing on that part of the market, supported by the Help to Buy incentive.

“A stagnant second-hand market is bad news for the wider economy, not just in terms of spending but also because it restricts mobility.”