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Brexit impasse sees UK property price index drop to 8-year low

London

WHATEVER form of Brexit is finally reached, the ongoing uncertainty will cause further damage the UK property market, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

RICS said its headline price index fell for a fifth month in February, dropping to the lowest level since 2011, as uncertainty caused both buyers and sellers to hold off on deals. New buyer inquiries, agreed sales and instructions also all declined.

With just over two weeks until Britain is due to leave the world's largest trading bloc, the economic outlook remains clouded for many households and businesses.

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Market voices on:

Over three-quarters of respondents to the RICS survey said a lack of clarity over the UK's future relationship with Europe is holding back activity.

"Ongoing uncertainty around how Brexit will play out is the critical factor influencing both buyers and sellers," said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.

"With little sign that the issue will be resolved anytime soon, it could prove to be a challenging spring for the housing market and the wider economy."

Here's a round-up of real-estate agents' comments in the survey:

David Moor, David Moor Chartered Surveyors, in north England: "Agents continue to complain about lack of stock and the 'B' word."

Christopher Shallice, Hix & Son, in the East Midlands: "Brexit is having an impact due to businesses across the UK closing or making redundancies. This is causing caution in respect of all aspects of purchases and sales."

David Nesbit, D.M.Nesbit & Company, on the South coast: "Lets have a decision. Despite the uncertainty, the market is resilient. So many decisions need to be made."

Ben Temple, Regent Property, in London: "Many people now refuse to make decisions until we have a decision from the politicians." BLOOMBERG