RICS figures reveal decline in house price growth and new buyer enquiries

New figures released by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have revealed a decline in the growth of house prices and the number of new buyer enquires since the implementation of George Osborne’s Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) surcharge.

The RICS announced that the number of new buyer inquiries fell to its lowest since September 2008 last month.

April 2016 also saw house price balance drop by 1 per cent in comparison with March 2016, and the new instructions balance dropped from -2 in March to -8 last month, the RICS said.

Some critics have blamed Brexit uncertainties for the decline, but the likelihood is that the introduction of SDLT on second home purchases has also been a contributing factor.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at business research firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “We think that the recovery in housing market activity and prices has only hit a speed bump, and will regain momentum in the second half of this year.”

Mr Tombs added that lower supply and banks’ increasing willingness to grant mortgages should see demand recover quickly in coming months.

Lenders such as Barclays and Virgin Money have set their sights on first time buyers in recent weeks, with the former re-introducing the no-deposit mortgage and the latter heavily revising their Help to Buy deals.