June 12, 2019 / 11:07 PM / a month ago

Brexit delay gives some relief to UK housing market: RICS

FILE PHOTO: A Union flag hangs across a street of houses in London, Britain June 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Brexit-battered housing market steadied in May and a measure of prices improved as the delay in the country’s European Union exit gave some encouragement to buyers, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) house price measure - the difference between members reporting price rises and falls - improved to -10 from -22 in April.

That was its highest reading since October and was stronger than the median forecast of -21 in a Reuters poll of economists.

There were also signs of improvement in agreed sales and new instructions, but there was little sign of a pickup in transactions any time soon, RICS said.

“Much of the anecdotal insight provided by respondents is still quite cautious, reflecting concerns about both the underlying political and economic climate,” said Simon Rubinsohn, RICS’ chief economist.

EU leaders in April granted Britain a delay to its deadline for the leaving the bloc until the end of October.

Britain’s housing market has slowed sharply since the Brexit referendum in June 2016 when RICS’ house price measure stood at +19. But there have been signs in recent months that the market might be bottoming out.

RICS, which said its price index typically has a six-month lead over other measures of house price inflation, said southeast England showed the weakest sentiment on price movements while London appeared to have bounced back a little.

Reporting by William Schomberg

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