Estate agents growing more pessimistic about the property market

Estate agents have become more negative about the long-term future of the property market, even as prices and activity soar during the “mini-boom”.

Those polled by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said buyer inquiries, agreed sales and new listings continued to rise in September. The number of properties on the market remains low, helping to push prices up as demand climbs, fuelled by the stamp duty holiday.

Agents in East Anglia, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber were particularly optimistic about the level of sales.

But the members surveyed said the boom would soon fade. A net balance of 34pc are pessimistic about the state of the property market and the level of sales in a year’s time – which is the difference between respondents having a negative outlook rather than a positive one. This is higher than last month’s net balance of 17pc.

Simon Rubinsohn, of Rics, said: “There is increasing concern that the combination of significant job losses over the coming month allied to the scaling back of policy initiatives in early 2021 will have an adverse impact on transaction levels.”

Keith Pattinson, an estate agent in the North East who was polled for the survey, said: “Next year will see collapse, like 2007, 1991 and 1993.”

Other estate agents commented that there were delays with conveyancing and mortgage offers, which were holding up sales. Michael Darwin, an agent in North Yorkshire, said: “The amount of time it is taking between instruction and completion continues to grow in length, and is affecting some proposed completions.”

Meanwhile, the survey found property prices are rising in every region of the UK, including London, although in the capital this is at a lower rate. Agents also largely believe prices will continue to rise in the next three months.

In the year to come, those surveyed in the North West and Wales are more optimistic about house price growth than those in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and London.

Rental demand in the capital fell, with agents expecting prices to fall over the next three months. But in the rest of the country, rents are expected to rise. 

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