LONDON – Property professionals are blaming the UK General Election for a slowdown in house sales and slowing price growth.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)’s monthly survey of its members “points to a lacklustre set of overall conditions” in May, with sales declining by 8%. The number of new houses being put into the market is also declining.
“The General Election is again commonly cited as a factor hindering activity, causing some hesitancy from both buyers and vendors,” RICS writes in the report. It says many sellers have been adopting “a wait and see approach.”
Price growth nationally slowed to 17% in May, the weakest performance since August last year, and prices dropped in London for the 14th consecutive month.
Nationwide’s measure of UK house prices fell 0.2% month-on-month in May, meaning house prices have dropped for three consecutive months for the first time since February 2009.
However, Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, says in Thursday’s release: “Perhaps the most ominous signal emanating from the data released today is that contributors still expect house prices to increase at a faster pace than wages over the medium term despite the difficulty many first-time buyers are clearly having in taking their first steps onto the property ladder.”
RICS members predict that house price inflation will average 3.5% over the next five years nationally. Wage growth is running at 2.3% and much of those gains are being eaten away by inflation, which currently stands at 2.7%.