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The UK housing market is 'flatlining' while prices in London continue to fall

14 December 2017

The UK housing market continued to flatline in November. Price falls are still falling in London, according to the RICS monthly UK residential market survey. RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the national slowdown is being driven by factors including the run-up to Christmas and Brexit-related uncertainty. LONDON — After years of runaway growth, the UK housing market is flatlining.

A monthly survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors showed its index fell to zero in November from +1% in October, broadly consistent with no national price change over the period, while price falls are now widely-reported in London.

Here’s how it breaks down regionally:

House prices 2017 - England

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the national slowdown is being driven by factors including a pre-Christmas lull in activity and Brexit-related uncertainty, while there is little evidence so far that the government’s move to lift stamp duty for some first-time buyers is having a positive impact.

“It is perhaps not surprising that the headline indicators for both prices and activity are subdued as Christmas approaches,” he said.

“But once again the feedback we are receiving from respondents points to quite marked differences in trends across the country. It is clear from the results than the mood music in London and the South East is very much flatter than elsewhere and interestingly, the forward looking indicators suggest this is likely to persist into the new year.”

“It remains to be seen whether the scrapping of stamp duty for first-time buyers announced in the Budget will provide much of a lift for the market.”

Respondents to the UK residential market survey also said the market is unlikely to gain much momentum in the coming months, suggesting activity will continue to be impacted by the continued shortage of new instructions, alongside general economic uncertainty.

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