Demand for new homes falls for first time in eighteen months

Posted 19 August 2014 by Keith Osborne

Demand for new homes fell slightly in July, marking the first monthly decline since January 2013, while the supply of new properties coming onto the market increased for the second consecutive month, according to data from the RICS Residential Market Survey.

As a result of the rebalancing of demand and supply, house price growth appears to be moderating, with a net balance of 49% more respondents reporting an increase in prices in July (from 52% in June and 56% in May).

In London, sales and buyer demand fell more sharply than elsewhere, with enquiries falling at their fastest rate since April 2008 and a net balance of 10% more respondents reporting an increase in prices (down from 30% in June).

Loan to Value (LtV) ratios on mortgages changed little during the month but the results, nevertheless, show that lenders are now a little more circumspect in providing finance to the more expensive parts of the market. The average LtV mortgage for a first time buyer in the capital remained below 78% for the second successive month, which compares with an average close to 81% during the early part of the year.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: "A range of policy initiatives adopted by the Bank of England in recent months alongside heightened expectations surrounding a turn in the interest rate cycle has clearly had an impact on sentiment in the market. The shift in the mood music amongst potential buyers in the London market has been particularly pronounced but that is in a sense consistent with the move to a more sustainable market in the capital."

"Elsewhere around the country, the market in general is showing a greater degree of resilience, but that largely reflects the fact that in some areas the recovery has only recently taken hold and affordability is rather less stretched. Significantly, members now expect price gains over the next year to be faster outside of the Capital, than in it."

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