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Election exacerbating UK property slowdown, say surveyors

Riverside flats in Leeds Image copyright Getty Images

Uncertainty over Thursday's general election result has contributed to the recent slowdown in the housing market, according to property surveyors.

Members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said the election had exacerbated the market's poor performance in May.

They said buyers and sellers were adopting a "wait and see" approach.

The Rics survey suggested demand, new instructions and sales all fell in May, with price growth easing too.

A majority of surveyors actually expect prices to fall over the next few months - but to recover in the longer term.

The average number of properties on the books of surveyors was just 43 - another record low.

Earlier this week the Halifax said annual house price inflation had slowed to 3.3% during the month, with prices falling by 0.2% over the last quarter.

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Delays

"The latest survey suggests that uncertainty related to the general election may have contributed to what appears to have been a disappointing level of transactions in the housing market over the spring," said Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist.

He said he was particularly worried about the pipeline of new properties being put up for sale.

"The increasingly tight second hand market remains a cause for concern with the RICS series tracking new instructions to agents recording its fifteenth successive negative reading."

Property expert Henry Pryor said the election result could have a big impact on house prices.

"Will what I buy today be worth more or less on Friday?" is a question I am asked a lot. Some clients even delay exchanging contracts until after they know the result."


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