Interest Rates

Interest Rate Rise Doubts as UK Housing Market Slows Again

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have produced their latest March 2018 survey which shows that the UK housing market has continued to slow down.

Buyer interest is down with 17% more people surveyed seeing a fall over the month. Furthermore, new instructions and newly agreed sales remain negative putting a rise on interest rates in doubt.

Across the regions

Nearly all of the country saw sales down or flat for the month. However, 17% of respondents expected a more positive outlook with an increase in sales over the next 12 months.

London house prices saw the weakest feedback from those surveyed with those in the South East, East Anglia and the North East reporting falling prices.

How will this affect Interest Rates?

The survey results could impact the decision by the Bank of England on further interest rate rises. The current bank rate is 0.50% with the next rate decision due on 10th May 2018.

RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn, said:

"The latest RICS results provide little encouragement that the drop in housing market activity is likely to be reversed anytime soon. Apart from the implications this has for the market itself, it also has the potential to impact the wider economy contributing to a softer trend in household spending. This could make Bank of England deliberations around a May hike in interest rates, which is pretty much odds-on at the moment, a little more finely balanced than would otherwise be the case. The downshift in sales for the time being continues to be more visible in London and the South East with many other parts of the country continuing to show rather greater resilience. Feedback on expectations regarding transactions suggest this divergence will persist over the coming months."