LONDON (Reuters) - British house prices edged up from a five-and-a-half-year low in May and there was a tentative first sign of more properties for sale but it was too early to call a change in the sluggish property market, a surveyors group said.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) house price balance rose to -3 from -7 in April, once again dragged down by a weak market in London and echoing other measures of British house prices.
A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a lesser improvement to -5.
A measure of new properties coming on to the market turned positive for the first time in 27 months.
However, RICS said its survey was consistent with a generally flat month for price changes and inventory levels remained near record lows.
“Against this backdrop, it is likely that the headline picture regarding activity in the housing market will remain subdued for some months to come,” Simon Rubinsohn, RICS’s chief economist, said.
Britain’s housing market has cooled since the 2016 Brexit vote which led to a rise in overall inflation and increased uncertainty among investors.
London’s housing market remained a weak spot in May with surveyors reporting that the capital was the only area of the country where prices were expected to fall over the next 12 months.
Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken