Signs of life in the housing market


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs we head into spring, a new survey has revealed further signs of life in the UK housing market.

The research, carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has revealed house sales in the UK reached a three year high during March.

The Rics housing market survey, showed estate agents had, on average, sold 17.4 houses each during the past three months; the highest level since March 2010. The figures from Rics are echoed by those from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who recently reported the number of house sales had risen by 10% in February, compared to the same time last year. Experts suggest the increase in the number of house sales is a sign of renewed confidence in the housing market. Those agents who took part in the survey also suggested, the rises should continue during the remainder of the year.

Commenting on the survey, Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director at Rics, said: “A buoyant, healthy property market is central to economic recovery and, while these are still very much early signs, it is encouraging that sales are beginning to pick-up.”

Flat house prices

Whilst Rics report that sales have reached their highest level in three years, they also note that growth in house prices remains relatively flat. This is at odds with the main three house price surveys, from Halifax, Nationwide and Land Registry, who have all reported house price rises over the past year.

Rics also report that, perhaps as a result of government initiatives, more people are looking to move house, with estate agents reporting an increase in the number of enquiries.

However, prospective buyers may be left disappointed, as Rics also report the number of homes coming on to the market has remained relatively flat.

Housing experts have also suggested that if the number of potential homebuyers continues to increase, whilst the stock available for sale remains unchanged, house prices may start to rise.

Peter Bolton King, again: “The increase in potential buyers getting out there and viewing property is particularly encouraging. Thanks to initiatives such as Funding for Lending, mortgages are becoming more accessible to buyers, which is gently easing the pressure on the market and freeing up stagnant chains.”