RICS: Activity in Scotland’s housing market weakens but prices still rising
Activity in Scotland’s housing market slowed through April according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey, though prices are still rising.
Both demand and supply levels fell further into negative territory in the latest survey with a net balance of -18 per cent of respondents reporting a fall in new buyer enquiries, down from -8 per cent the month previous, and a net balance of -28 per cent of surveyors reporting a fall in new instructions to sell, down from -12 per cent in March.
With both demand and supply lower, sales were also reported to be falling back, with a net balance of -19 per cent of respondents reporting a fall in sales through the month of April.
With supply and demand on the downturn, this may weigh on surveyor’s outlook in Scotland, with a net balance of -11 per cent expecting sales to decline over the course of the next quarter.
However, surveyors are more optimistic when it comes to pricing. A net balance of +21 per cent of respondents saw prices rise over the past quarter, up from +8 per cent in the survey previous.
And looking at price expectations, a net balance of -7 per cent of surveyors are expecting prices to fall over the next three months, a more modest decrease compared to the March survey, when a net balance of -20 per cent expected prices to fall.
Surveyors in Scotland are more optimistic about the outlook when compared to the UK average where -48 per cent of respondents expect prices to fall over the next quarter. Respondents in Scotland are also more positive about the 12-month outlook compared to UK counterparts, with both sales and prices expected to rise.
Ian Morton MRICS, of Bradburne & Co. in St Andrews, said: “The market is slowing down, with sales closer to home report values and purchasers being more cautious in their approach”.
Commenting on the UK picture, Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: “Although the news flow around housing does appear to have steadied over the past month, key indicators from the RICS survey point to a series of challenges in both the sales and letting space.
“Most notably, buyer demand still appears to be subdued in the face of relatively high borrowing costs, the prospect of at least one more interest rate hike and ongoing affordability challenges. Meanwhile, the imbalance between demand and supply in the letting market still remains stark despite the significant increase in rents.
“Critical to addressing both areas of the market is the delivery of more supply. However, indicators of the level of new housing starts in the early part of the year suggest that the picture is if anything continuing to soften as housebuilders activity reflects both macro uncertainty and policy developments.”