Brexit impasse continues to challenge Yorkshire housing market

Average stock levels remain low, at 34 properties per branch
Average stock levels remain low, at 34 properties per branch

Yorkshire and Humber’s housing market was still subdued in March, with the volume of sales, new buyer enquiries, and sales instructions all falling last month, according to a new survey.

In March, 39 per cent of Yorkshire and Humber’s agents saw a fall in buyer enquiries – down from 33 per cent in February. Comparatively, the RICS UK Residential Market Survey revealed that demand fell across all parts of the UK in March.

As buyer interest in Yorkshire and Humber declined last month, a net balance of 40 per cent of respondents also reported a fall in agreed sales during March and, looking ahead, 36 per cent of agents in the region expect to see sales levels fall further over the coming three months.

Despite a reduction in sales, the ongoing decline in homes coming onto the sales market in Yorkshire and Humber continues, and is resulting in stock levels on estate agents’ books remaining low, at an average of 34 properties per branch.

Looking at prices, only 1 per cent of respondents saw a rise rather than a fall in house prices last month.  But 17 per cent expect prices to rise over the coming 12-months.

In comparison, London and the South East continue to display the weakest sentiment regarding prices, with Scotland and Northern Ireland the only parts of the UK to have seen sustained price growth on a consistent basis, over the past two months. Looking ahead, at the national level, 15 per cent more respondents anticipate house prices will be higher in twelve months’ time.

In Yorkshire and Humber’s lettings market, demand from tenants rose, with 24 per cent of agents reporting a rise in tenant demand (non-seasonally adjusted data) up from 11 per cent, while landlord instructions remained flat. On the back of this, 39 per cent of contributors expect rents to grow over the coming three months.

Ben Hudson, MRICS of Hudson Moody in York, said: “The shortage of properties coming onto the market due to Brexit uncertainty is hitting turnover, although new to market properties are selling well. The shortage is creating demand.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Brexit remains a major drag on activity in the market with anecdotal evidence pointing to potential buyers being reluctant to commit in the face of the heightened sense of uncertainty. Whether any deal provides the shift in mood music envisaged by many respondents to the survey remains to be seen.”