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UK property market activity levels out

A surge in demand for UK properties has eased off according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which released its February Residential Market Survey on Wednesday.

The UK housing market has become more accessible, which has resulted in rise in would-be buyers. However the number of potential buyers in most areas of Britain slowed during February this year, having increased at the slowest rate since March 2013. Yorkshire and Humberside were the only areas to see any significantly increases in buyer growth, but that followed a flat market in January 2014. Supply of homes coming up for sale is below required levels and buyer demand is gradually starting to slacken

The RICS survey showed that flooding and adverse weather conditions in the South West has also affected buyer demand, as well as the supply of properties for sale.

House prices in the UK continued to increase during February, although at a slightly slower pace than in previous months. During the month, 45% more chartered surveyors reported higher house prices, which have risen across the UK for eleven consecutive months.

Respondents to the survey expect both prices and transaction levels to continue to rise during the summer months, when the housing market usually begins to do well

RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn, stated:

“The growth in buyer numbers that we’ve seen for some months started to slow down in February, as the surge in interest sparked towards the end of last summer began to level off. While this certainly doesn’t mean an end to the increasing activity we’ve been seeing recently, it does suggest that the pent up demand generated throughout the downturn is gradually exhausting itself. One other factor influencing behaviour over the past month may be the weather as rain, wind and, in particular, floods tend to mean fewer people are willing to actually get out there and view houses.

“The ongoing issue that we are facing, however, is the lack of homes coming onto the market. Yes, it is true that more and more are being built, but supply is simply not enough properties to satisfy demand. As a result , prices are likely to continue to move higher making it ever harder for people to take an initial step foot onto the property ladder.”


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