Home sales in the UK have hit a 3 year high according to the latest data from RICS. According to the industry body its members handled an average of 17.9 sales in the three months ending May, which is still low by historical standards but another increase to support an overall picture of recovery, both in UK housing and the wider economy.
A picture confirmed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In a recent update the body confirmed the UK economy remains in growth mode, supporting hopes that a wider recovery is gathering strength.
The RICS survey also found prices to be rising, with 5pc more surveyors reported price increases rather than decreases in their areas.
The Government’s Funding for Lending scheme, launched to give banks access to cheap finance, has been cited by lenders as a factor pushing down bank funding costs and helping to reduce interest rates for customers, stimulating house sales rates.
Peter Bolton King, a director at Rics, said: “May was an interesting month for the housing market. More people decided to get out there and view property and more transactions went through than in quite some time.
“There is still a very long way to go until we see a full scale recovery but green shoots are beginning to sprout.”
However, fears are being raised that such measures as the funding for lending scheme may be having the unintended consequence of pushing home prices further out of reach for many would-be buyers. First time buyers are direct beneficiaries of funding for lending, but recent studies have found that second-steppers too are continuing to face difficulties financing home purchases, and they could certainly do without rising prices making it more difficult.
That said, for the moment the UK economy is doing better and so is the housing market. Let us hope it continues.
- Wednesday 12 June 2013