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Commentators play down RICS UK house price growth figures

18 March 2019

Latest figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), house price growth is at its weakest since 2011.

RICS reports its monthly house price balance was at -28 in February, the lowest since May 2011. It was at -22 in January. This is primarily attributed to uncertainty round Brexit.

The figures are drawn from data provided by surveyors on the ground reporting on increases in house prices in their local area.

However, the picture painted by RICS and its comment that it remains “unconvinced that activity trends will break away from the recent sluggish picture”, were questioned by commentators.

Alastair McKee, managing director of One77 Mortgages, said the latest findings from RICS “aren’t quite in line with what we’re seeing on the ground at present”.

“Despite the consistent setbacks with Brexit, buyer sentiment has remained strong so far this year and while politically the landscape looks set to remain a tricky one, I don’t think this will have the impact on the property market that many are predicting.

“Surveyors can be notoriously morose when it comes to relaying the health of the market as many lenders find it preferable that they don’t value a property too high, so for the RICS to report such sluggish growth, in what are already tough market conditions, isn’t surprising.”

Founder and CEO of the Springbok Property Group, Shepherd Ncube agrees. He said: “There’s certainly an air of jumping on the Brexit bandwagon where this latest report from the RICS is concerned, given that it’s based on the sentiment of a relatively small sample of surveyors.

“We are facing testing times as a nation but to date, our property market has remained a pillar of strength with positive growth in transactions and house prices despite a reduction in the levels of both buyers and sellers.

He added that he saw “plenty of reasons to remain optimistic” and that the company was  “confident the market will defy wider industry expectations over the coming year to record further positive growth”.

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