YORKSHIRE and Humber’s housing market ended 2018 on a weak note with uncertainty still biting and contributing to a continuing lack of sales and stock, according to the December 2018 RICS Residential Market Survey.

Sales volumes and buyer enquiries continued to dwindle during the month of December.

It seems agents in the region do not expect sales to pick up any time soon either with 37% anticipating a fall in sales over the coming three months and only 4% of respondents expecting sales volumes to rise over the coming 12-months.

In comparison, sales expectations are now either flat or negative across all parts of the UK. Anecdotal evidence suggests this near-term pessimism is linked to the lack of clarity around what form of departure the UK will make from the EU in March.

In terms of prices, just 8% of respondents in Yorkshire and Humber reported a rise in house prices last month, but looking ahead, the 12-month outlook is more optimistic, with 23% of contributors in the region expecting to see house prices rise. Comparatively, prices are anticipated to either rise or hold steady across all UK regions - with the exception of London and the South East - over this time horizon.

The ongoing lack of supply is contributing to the more positive outlook for prices, with stock levels on estate agents books in Yorkshire and Humber remaining at a record low, currently standing at an average of just 34 properties per branch. Only agents in East Anglia and the West Midlands had fewer properties on their books last month.

Commenting on the survey findings, Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “It is hardly a surprise with ongoing uncertainty about the path to Brexit dominating the news agenda, that even allowing for the normal patterns around the Christmas holidays, buyer interest in purchasing property in December was subdued.

"This is also very clearly reflected in a worsening trend in near term sales expectations. Looking a little further out, there is some comfort provided by the suggestion that transactions nationally should stabilise as some of the fog lifts, but that moment feels a way off for many respondents to the survey.

“Meanwhile it is hard to see developers stepping up the supply pipeline in this environment. Getting to the government’s 300,000 building target was never going to be easy but pushing up to anywhere near this figure will require significantly greater input from other delivery channels including local authorities taking advantage of their new-found freedom.”