Property professionals do brisk business in run-up to Christmas amid fears sales will drop

High property prices force Londoners to move city

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said house sales continued to increase across November, as buyers looked to beat a stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31, 2021. But while demand rose for most of the UK, the pace of this growth does appear to be losing a bit of steam and slowing, it added. A net balance of 27 percent of surveyors told Rics they experienced an increase rather than a decrease in new buyer inquiries in November. A positive net balance of 25 percent of surveyors saw sales increase rather than decrease in November. But looking to the year ahead, an overall balance of 21 per cent expect sales to be weaker.

Some are citing rising unemployment and the stamp duty holiday ending in March as reasons for the subdued outlook, Rics said.

Regionally, agreed sales continued to rise across most areas, with Wales and Northern Ireland seeing particularly strong growth for November.

However, property professionals in the West Midlands, East Midlands and Scotland have started to report a flatter trend in agreed sales.

Demand growth is also putting a significant upward pressure on house prices, with a net balance of two-thirds (66 percent) of surveyors seeing prices increase rather than decrease.

Expectations for house price growth in the year ahead have strengthened.

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A net balance of 20 percent of surveyors now expect house prices to be higher in the next 12 months.

In the rental market, demand from tenants remained steady in November, although a net balance of 19 percent of surveyors saw a fall in landlord properties.

Rents are generally expected to increase, but London is a clear exception to the rest of the UK where surveyors expect rents to fall.

The Rics November report also quoted some commentary from property professionals around the UK – which reflects variations in local markets.

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