Small signs of housing market recovery

Expectations that house prices are set to rise have increased for the first time since May 2007 because of the low number of properties on the market and increased interest from potential buyers, according to the latest housing market survey.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) regular monthly survey of its members shows activity in the housing market picked up last month and that surveyors appeared more optimistic about the prospects for the housing market generally.

The number of RICS members reporting an increase in new buyer enquiries increased during June, with 67 per cent reporting a rise rather than a fall, the eighth consecutive monthly gain.

The survey also contains more definitive signs that the rebound in enquiries is now feeding thorough into increased property sales. According to RICS, the number of properties sold rose again in June, albeit from very depressed levels by comparison to two years ago.

The average number of properties sold over the past three months rose to 12.7, up from 11.7.
Meanwhile, newly agreed sales, measured on a net balance basis, increased sharply, reaching their highest level since August 1999.

Jeremy Leaf, a spokesperson for RICS, said: “Although the market is showing signs of improvement, it is unlikely that there will be a sustained upturn while mortgage lenders remain risk adverse.

“A lack of stock on the market is providing a platform for modest price increases. While supply remains tight, the market may continue to show tentative signs of firming but instructions are starting to increase in some regions and this could dampen any meaningful recovery as long as economic conditions remain quite so uncertain.”