Property Prices Continue To Increase

A closely watched barometer of the UK housing market points to a slight reversal in December, but drill down it highlights a bigger problem.

There are lots of reports that cover the UK housing market, but the monthly Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is possibly the most closely watched.

The survey is defined largely by anecdotal evidence, surveyors are asked a series of questions and the percentage balance forms the index.

The latest index, covering December, was out this week.

The index dipped a tad, falling from plus 29 to plus 24. By historic standings, this is a low reading, but then again, any score over zero, points to growth.


A sub-index tracking expectations for house prices rose.

But, demand appears to be waning, with an index tracking new buyer enquiries falling to just plus seven.

Supply is awful, the index tracking new sales instructions was zero, but to show how bad this side of the housing market is, that reading was, in fact, the highest in ten months.

But the real point is that stock levels, that’s the volume of houses for sale as a proportion to demand, is near an all-time low.

Hansen Lu, Property Economist at Capital Economics, said: "A shortage of homes for sale, improving confidence and a surprisingly positive economic backdrop might normally suggest that house price growth will accelerate. But those forces will struggle against already very high house prices. On balance, we think this means house price growth will cool further over the course of 2017.”