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Property sales expected to fall as ‘never-ending Brexit saga’ spooks market

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
The property market has seen sales dip, widely blamed on Brexit uncertainty. Photo: PA

Growing numbers of surveyors expect property sales to keep falling over the next few months in the UK, with the “never-ending Brexit saga” spooking many buyers and sellers.

Expectations of near-term sales dropped from -4% in July to -23% in August in the latest residential market survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, representing the balance of positive and negative opinion.

New instructions to sell, and buyer enquiries, were flat, with demand from buyers tailing off after two months of growing interest in previous surveys.

The survey also showed demand for lettings on the rise, but falling supply as growing numbers of landlords have left the market – driving up rents.

The latest figures suggest house prices were largely unchanged.

READ MORE: The biggest factor affecting the property market ‘is not Brexit’

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “It is hard to get away from the shadow being cast over the housing market by the seemingly never-ending Brexit saga.

“Indeed, uncertainty is a theme that respondents continue to highlight as a negative influence on sentiment in survey after survey.”

But he said activity had remained fairly resilient overall, with only a “modest dip” in transactions despite the huge political uncertainty over Brexit.

Many experts have warned a no-deal Brexit could send shockwaves rippling through the UK economy that would batter the property market and push down prices significantly.