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UK Housing Market Activity Remains Subdued: RICS

UK housing market activity remained subdued in September with indicators on demand, sales, instructions and prices all in negative territory, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, or RICS, said on Thursday.

The new buyer enquiries came in at -39 percent in September. Although it is consistent with weak demand, the reading was better than the -46 percent seen in August.

The agreed sales balance was deep in negative territory, at -37 percent in September. But this was slightly less downbeat than -46 percent in August.

The survey respondents forecast a decline in sales volumes for the coming three months. Meanwhile, 12-month sales expectations returned to +3 percent from -5 percent.

House prices remained on a downward trajectory in September. Nonetheless, the net balance of -69 percent barely changed from -68 percent in August, signaling the pace of fall in house prices are consistent with the trend over the past couple of months. Further, near-term price expectations point to a further pull-back over the coming three months, although the latest net balance of -48 percent was not quite as negative as the reading of -65 percent returned last time around.

A national net balance of -33 percent of contributors foresees prices continuing to fall over the coming twelve months.

RICS Senior Economist Tarrant Parsons said, “With mortgage affordability still incredibly stretched, it is unsurprising that buyer activity across the housing market remained subdued in September.”

Interest rates are likely to remain on hold for a prolonged period. “As such, it appears there is little prospect of trends deviating much from the recent picture in the immediate future,” said Parsons.

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