Brexit blamed as UK housing slips to weakest in 6 years


LONDON • The Brexit battering of the UK housing market has no end in sight.

An index of prices by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) slipped in November to the weakest level since 2012, while the outlook for pricing and sales for the next three month slumped.

The persistent uncertainty around Britain’s impending exit from the European Union (EU) was the biggest complaint from respondents in the survey.

“I can’t recall a previous survey when a single issue has been highlighted by quite so many contributors,” said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.

“The forward-looking indicators reflect the suspicion that the political machinations are unlikely to be resolved any time soon.”

The report comes less than a week after Halifax said UK house prices are rising at the slowest pace in six years.

Prime Minister Theresa May faced a confidence vote from her Conservative Party on Wednesday because of disagreements on what form Brexit should take. She won.

But with three months to go until the UK is due to leave the bloc, it’s still not clear how it will happen.

Buyers and sellers across the price spectrum are now impacted by Brexit, according to Hew Edgar, head of policy at RICS. Buyers are putting off purchases as they await some certainty about a possible future detached from the EU, he said.