Demand in the UK residential property market reached its highest level in more than three years last month, a new survey shows.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said yesterday that the government’s Help to Buy scheme had started to make an impact on the housing market in April.
In its latest Residential Market Survey, the organisation found that 25% more chartered surveyors reported seeing an increase in demand for property rather than a decrease. This is up significantly from the difference of 13% registered in March.
According to the RICS this upturn strongly suggests that, alongside the existing Funding for Lending scheme, Help to Buy is attracting interest even if the mortgage guarantee element of the product is not due to come into effect until next year.
As well as the higher level of demand in the market, surveyors also reported that supply increased in April, albeit more modestly.
Overall, with not enough housing to meet increased demand, prices are rising and the monthly survey by the RICS recorded its first positive reading for house prices since June 2010.
Demand for rented property is also continuing to outstrip supply, the RICS pointed out. A balance of 18% more surveyors expect rental prices to rise rather than fall, although most anticipate rents rising by less than 2% over the next year. One of the reasons for this moderation in rent increases may be the healthier housing market and increased access to mortgage lending, the RICS suggested.
A separate survey released today also showed increased activity in the housing market. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said that the number of first-time buyers went up by 20% in March.
This trend, combined with a small rise in the number of home movers, contributed to a monthly jump in house purchase lending.