LONDON Oct 13 British house prices rose for a
second month in September and enquiries from buyers picked up
for the first time since February, suggesting the housing market
has weathered the initial shock of the Brexit vote, a survey
But prices in London fell again due to uncertainty about
what the decision to leave the European Union means for the
capital and its huge financial services industry, and the impact
of a tax hike in April for landlords buying property.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its
monthly house price index increased to +17 in September from +13
in August, moving further away from July's three-year low of +5.
The back-to-back rises over the past two months followed
five months of declines.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said the market was
settling down slowly after the EU referendum in June, but the
big issue remained a shortage of sellers, a phenomenon which has
been pushing up prices since mid-2014.
British finance minister Philip Hammond is expected to
announce measures to boost home-building in his first budget
statement on Nov. 23.
In London, house price expectations for the coming three
months fell, bucking the national trend which saw the biggest
increase in surveyors predicting price rises since March.
"Central London remains something of an outlier with
contributors telling us this is the one part of the market where
there may be further give on prices in the near term," Rubinsohn
said. "Elsewhere the price trend still seems on the up."
RICS has previously said the Bank of England's decision to
cut interest rates in August for the first since 2009 probably
contributed to a brighter mood in the housing market.
Britain's economy has fared better in the three months after
the EU vote than the BoE and most private economists expected.
But an expected pick-up in inflation after a sharp fall in
the value of the pound is likely to hurt spending power of many
households, and companies have signalled they are set to reduce
investment while they wait for more clarity on Britain's future
relationship with the EU.
(Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)