Another sign has emerged that the UK housing market is springing back to life, with the release yesterday of a new report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which shows that enquires from potential buyers rose in March.
In its latest UK Housing Market Survey, a monthly survey of property surveyors, RICS reveals that 9% more surveyors reported increases rather than decreases in demand. The highest figure on this measure for almost two years, the increase can be partly attributed to a rush of first time buyers hoping to get on the housing ladder before the end of the stamp duty holiday.
Meanwhile there was little change in the amount of new properties coming onto the market, with a net balance of 2% more surveyors reporting rises in new vendor instructions. RICS noted that those looking to sell their homes need to be be realistic in their price expectations.
Looking more specifically at house prices, RICS reported a continued decline in prices in all areas of the country except London, although prices are falling more slowly than in recent months. In total, 10% more surveyors reported prices decreasing rather than increasing, an improvement from 13% in February, and this is the least negative score since June 2010.
Across the whole of the UK, RICS found that predictions for future house prices remained flat for the second consecutive month.
Surveyors are positive about future transaction levels, with a net balance of 20% more expecting sales to increase over the next three months.
Commenting on the latest survey results, RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said that there has been a gentle increase in activity across the market in the early part of the year. He added however that it it remains to be seen whether this can continue, with changes announced in the recent Budget and continuing problems affecting the economy.