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Press release

8 MAR 2018

RICS Residential Market Survey: devolved regional outlook

After the release of the latest UK Residential Market Survey, we take a closer look at the markets in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Download the survey

Survey in brief

  • Northern Ireland house prices rising but sentiment turns more cautious.
  • Scottish housing market activity flat, but prices rise as demand exceeds supply.
  • Welsh housing market activity increases ahead of tax change.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland house prices rose in February but sentiment surrounding the market is becoming more cautious according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

A net balance of 35% of Northern Ireland surveyors said that prices rose in the February survey, but this had reduced slightly from January.

Respondents also indicated that new buyer enquiries eased back slightly last month  albeit that the three-month average is upwards  and expectations amongst surveyors for sales activity in the three months ahead lowered, with the balance for sales expectations now lower than at any time in the past five years.

However, there is still little evidence of new instructions to sell picking up, which points to a continuing lack of supply in the market and the likelihood that upward pressure on prices will remain.

Scotland

Housing market activity in Scotland was flat in February as a shortage of properties becoming available for sale continued to result in an increasing number of potential new buyers being thwarted, according to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey.

The number of properties coming onto the market (instructions to sell) failed to increase again in February, according to the survey, continuing a constrained supply trend that has been evident since 2015. As a result, newly agreed sales were flat last month, despite a rising number of new buyer enquiries.

Due to this gap between demand and availability, average house prices rose again, according to respondents, with a net balance of +31% of Scottish surveyors reporting increased values in the latest survey. This was significantly above the UK average and one of the highest readings of the UK nations and regions.

Encouragingly though, surveyors in Scotland are optimistic about the short-term outlook for activity in the market as we move into the spring months. A net balance of +39% of respondents expect the number of sales to increase in the three months ahead, from their low base, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that surveyors expect more potential vendors to bring their properties to the market when the weather improves.

Wales

Wales continues to outperform the subdued UK housing market with prices and demand rising again, according to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey.

A net balance of +42% of Welsh respondents said that house prices rose in February, higher than any other UK region and well above the flat picture being reported for the UK as a whole.

And it was a similar picture regarding newly agreed sales, with a net balance of 22% of Welsh respondents saying they were up last month, whilst other regions said they were broadly flat or falling.

Welsh surveyors also remain the UK’s most optimistic regarding what will happen to prices in the three months ahead. A net balance of +39% of Welsh respondents anticipate that prices will increase in the March to May period, whilst a net balance of +19% expect sales volumes to do the same.

Anecdotally, surveyors have suggested that the replacement of Stamp Duty Land Tax with the new Land Transaction Tax (LTT) from the start of April has led to some sales in the middle to upper price brackets being fast-tracked through to complete ahead of the end of March.