The August 2017 RICS UK Residential Market Survey results show an increasingly divergent picture in key activity metrics across different parts of the country. Sentiment remains cautious in London and, to a lesser extent, the South East, while, further away from the capital, respondents appear to be generally more upbeat with regards to the near term outlook.
The headline price balance edged up to +6% over the month, compared to +1% previously. Although signalling a return to growth (after the flat outturn in July), this measure is consistent with only a marginal rise in national prices. Behind the headline figure, there was again significant variances across the UK. The London* price gauge remains stuck firmly in negative territory, posting the weakest reading since 2008. Furthermore, the price indicator has turned a little softer in the South East of England, with more respondents in this region reporting a fall (rather than an increase) in prices for a third successive month. Both of these markets share a common characteristic in displaying the highest proportion of contributors sensing the market is overpriced relative to all other parts of the UK.
Alongside this, East Anglia and the North of England were the only other regions to return marginally negative price balances. Elsewhere, the latest figures point to solid price growth in many parts, with Northern Ireland, the North West, Scotland, and the South West seeing the firmest increases (in net balance terms). Going forward, headline price expectations remain subdued over the near term, as the UK average reading was again weighed down by London and the South East. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents in Northern Ireland and Scotland were most confident in seeing further price growth over the coming three months. At the twelve month horizon, London remains the only area in which prices expectations are negative, with all other regions/ countries displaying positive net balances.
Source : RICS