The big six estate agents have been warned by the UK’s biggest property market regulator to prepare for an even bigger decline.
The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has warned that the housing market has already slipped below its capacity to absorb the huge number of new home sales over the past year.
“There is no evidence that we are seeing the end of the housing boom, and this is the case even for the big six,” said Paul Dyer, managing director of the London-based estate agent agency Jones Lang LaSalle.
“It’s only when you have a big house with a bunch of kids that you see a big fall.”
He added that the “Big Six” agents were now facing a “very challenging” job.
“They’ve got to work harder, and they have to be more disciplined,” he said.
“The big six are all working harder than ever to prepare and manage their business, which is going to be very tough.”
The ONS data showed that the number of homes sold in England’s major cities in the last 12 months fell by about 7.2% compared to the same period last year.
It also showed that there were 8.3 million fewer people buying homes in England in June.
The ONSS said that a number of factors were behind the slowdown, including the rise in the price of house-related goods such as furniture and food, the decline in sales of private rented accommodation, and the sharp decline in the number and quality of homes.
“In particular, the slowdown in house price growth was primarily the result of the impact of the Brexit vote and the strengthening pound,” it said.
The decline in home sales has had a knock-on effect on rental housing, with the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in the capital now more than half the cost in the south-east of England.
It comes as the number is also falling for the second successive month.
The annual decline in rental home prices has been largely driven by the sharp fall in prices for houses in the inner-city and west of England, and by the fall in home-rental prices in the North East.
The London housing market saw a record decline of 2.6% in May, down from a year earlier.