May 8, 2019 / 11:34 PM / a month ago

UK housing market shows scant sign of recovery in April: RICS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s housing market showed little sign of recovery in April as properties put up for sale fell the fastest rate since 2016, according to a survey on Thursday that added to downbeat signals from the housing market ahead of Brexit.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) gauge of house prices held at -23 in April, still close to February’s level of -27, the weakest in almost eight years.

While official data show house prices have been rising across the country as a whole, prices in London have fallen, hit by unaffordable prices for many buyers, tax changes affecting rental properties and Brexit uncertainty which has weighed heavily on the capital.

“Although there are signs of greater realism on pricing from vendors, there is little conviction in the feedback from respondents to the survey that activity in the housing market will pick-up anytime soon,” RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said.

Bank of England data last week showed British lenders approved the fewest mortgages since December 2017 in March, and that consumer borrowing slowed sharply in the run-up to the original Brexit deadline of March 29.

“Significantly, the key RICS buyer enquiries indicator remains subdued and sales expectations looking a year out are only modestly positive,” Rubinsohn said.

Reporting by Andy Bruce

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