House prices however expected to rise in the short term due to lack of supply

Surveyors have reported a drop in new buyer inquiries in May with stretched household finances being blamed for the fall.

According to RICS monthly UK Residential Market Survey, more surveyors reported a fall than rises, with a net balance of -7%. This was down from April, which saw a positive net balance of 8%.

A RICS spokesperson said the drop was “a potential side effect of the rising cost of living and higher interest rates”.


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House prices are expected to rise despite falling numbers of new buyers, the RICS said

But most RICS members surveyed reported an increase in house prices in May, with a net balance of 73% reporting rises. A net balance of 42% of surveyors also expect prices to be higher this time next year.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: “The increase in the cost of mortgage finance alongside growing concerns about the economic outlook is unsurprisingly having an impact, albeit a relatively modest one at this point, on buyer activity in the sales market.

“Despite this, prices are viewed as likely to remain resilient into 2023. But as is often the case in these circumstances, the pressure is likely to be felt more visibly in transaction levels which are seen as likely to slow as the year wears on.”

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The RICS findings follow Bank of England data last week which suggested that the bank’s decision to raise interest rates may be having an impact on mortgage lending.

Mortgage approvals fell from 69,500 in April to 66,000 in March, with both approvals and mortgage debt slightly below their 12-month pre-pandemic average for the year to February 2020.

Yesterday, the bellwether monthly S&P Global/CIPS UK Construction PMI report said housing output in May had slipped to 50.7 – only just above the 50 mark which indicates no growth. It was the sector’s worst performance since May 2020, during the height of the first covid lockdown when much of the industry was shut down.

RICS UK Residential Market Survey explained

The RICS UK Residential Market Survey is a monthly sentiment survey of chartered surveyors who operate in the residential sales and lettings markets. Surveyors are asked 18 questions on a range of metrics such as sales, enquiries, listings and house prices and are asked whether these have increased, stayed the same or decreased.

The ‘net balance’ refers to the proportion of respondents reporting a rise in a metric minus those reporting a fall.

For example, if 30% reported an increase in buyer enquiries and 5% reported a fall, the net balance would be +25%.