House sales in the UK have reached a two-and-a-half year high, meaning more property investment deals could soon be in the pipeline. The latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) housing market survey revealed that despite a threat of a triple-dip recession, confidence is returning to the sector and sales are on the up. Chartered surveyors across the country have reported selling an average of 16.8 homes in the three months to February.
What's more, this upwards trend isn't expected to simply be a flash in the pan. Surveyors told the RICS that they are cautiously optimistic that sales growth will continue, with market stability helping to drive the surge. Eight per cent more respondents predict that transaction levels will go from strength to strength throughout the next three months.
However, rising sales aren't translating into price hikes and chartered surveyors are still reporting stagnation. A net balance of six per cent more respondents in fact claimed prices had dipped in the past three months. Nonetheless, there has been relative house price stability, although they remain in negative territory. Demand is also steady and RICS claims the increase in mortgage finance availability from the government's Funding for Lending scheme is behind the current market conditions. Despite this, would-be-buyers remain cautious and increasing confidence substantial will undoubtedly be a slow process.
Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, commented: "It's encouraging to see that the housing market now appears to be picking-up across most parts of the UK, despite on-going 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."
Nevertheless, there is a quiet optimism that prices will start to edge up in the next couple of months. In fact, the 12-month price expectations indicator has reached its best level since February 2010.
- Wednesday 13 March 2013