The latest RICS housing market survey took on a decidedly three-speed look, very much in line with what one might expected would result from the current economic realignment being implemented by the Government.
Broadly the picture it paints is one that shows prices up in London, down in most Southern regions and down a lot in the North.
Naturally it is not that clear cut. Scotland continues to be in the less bad group and the North West seems to have perked up a bit in recent months after a pretty dismal spell.
But with estate agents in London salivating and indeed bragging over the return of bankers’ bonuses, it is little surprise to see that London pepped up in the month.
Meanwhile, we can have expected to see the signs of some depression in those regions most reliant on the public sector – for that in England read the North.
But we have to be careful drawing too many neat conclusions from this survey, as sentiment will vary and regional activity will ebb and flow in the current market, particularly with the high levels of uncertainty and after coming out of a period impacted by the bad weather.
Looked at in the round the round the data seems to fit pretty much with the picture painted by other recent data described in the previous blog.
The average number of sales ticked up fractionally, but the figure remains weak. There appeared to be a few more people putting their homes up for sale in February than in January, but this may just be due to delays caused by the weather. And there was some stability in the number of buyers.
The broad conclusion to draw is that we have a pretty flaccid market and, with “selling season” coming upon us, this is a very different market than we saw a year ago as you can see from the graphs below.
Last year the signs of a slide in the market were there, but this year there are signs of the decline broadening and as a result deepening.
But it must be remembers while the figures may suggest a widespread downward trend, the scale remains uncertain.