Election result fails to boost housing supply

Hopes of a boost in housing supply following the general election appear to have been misplaced. Figures from Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed the average stock of houses has continued to fall and is now 12% lower than at the start of 2015.

There had been some suggestion that homeowners were waiting until the conclusion of the general election to sell their homes, but RICS figures suggest that is not the case.

House prices across the country rose in May and the stock of homes per surveyor fell to the lowest level since the survey began in January 1978.

Some 34% of surveyors saw a price increase during May while 19% more surveyors reported a drop in new instructions.

The North West and London were home to the largest falls in instructions compared with April. The trade body said the rest of the UK has ‘failed to see any meaningful growth’ since the middle of 2013.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said affordability was becoming a problem in more areas of the country.

“There had been some hope that the removal of political uncertainty would encourage more properties onto the market but the initial indications are that this is not the case,” he said.

“As a result, it is hardly surprising that prices across much of the country are continuing to be squeezed higher with property set to become ever more unaffordable.”

Rubinsohn said prices could rise even further in the coming years.

“Indeed the feedback we are getting in the survey, which points to prices at a headline rising by another 25% over the next five years, suggests that there is no real confidence that the measures necessary to deliver a meaningful boost to new supply will be put in place anytime soon,” he warned.

“Significantly, away from the South East, the strongest price growth is anticipated in the North West which is envisaged to benefit economically from the focus of the government on developing the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ centered on this area.”