The amount of houses sold in the UK reached its highest level in over two-and-a-half years, with chartered surveyors selling an average of 16.8 homes in the three months to February, according to the latest RICS housing market survey. During February, the increasing market stability seen in recent months translated into an uplift in sales, and surveyors are cautiously optimistic that this trend will continue.
Moving on to prices, chartered surveyors continued to report a flat trend as a net balance of 6% more respondents claimed that prices had dipped. While in negative territory, prices have now remained relatively stable since the autumn.
Meanwhile, demand for property remained steady across the country as buyers in many parts continued to consider purchasing a new home. It would appear that the increase in mortgage finance availability from the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme may be slowly encouraging would-be buyers to test the market.
In tandem with this, the amount of homes coming onto the market was stable last month. A net balance of 1% more surveyors reported rises in new instructions. Even so, the number of properties available remain at historically low levels.
Looking ahead, chartered surveyors expect prices continue to stabilise over the coming three months as confidence gradually returns to the nation’s market. Beyond this, there is a growing suspicion that prices will begin to edge upwards at a headline level with RICS’ 12-month price expectations indicator climbing to its best level since the series was started in February 2010.
Peter Bolton King, RICS’ global residential director, says: “It’s encouraging to see that the housing market now appears to be picking up across most parts of the UK despite ongoing concerns about the health of the economy. This may, in part, be down to the growing availability of mortgage finance through schemes such as Funding for Lending. However even with activity running at its best level since the middle of 2010, it is still well down on its pre-crisis norm.”