House sales in the UK were at a near four-year high in the three months to September, according to the latest Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The number of properties sold per chartered surveyor stood at an average of 18.7, as the market begins to gather pace. While this is still below the historical average, it is the highest figure recorded since November 2009.
Prices are also continuing to travel upwards as sales gain momentum. In September, 54 per cent more respondents reported rising rather than falling values. This is the continuation of a growth trend that set-in during Easter and prices are now rising steadily nationwide. Indeed, last month every part of the country saw prices increase, except the north-east where prices fell marginally for second consecutive month.
Heightened demand is helping to push sales and values upwards. In September a net balance of 49 per cent more surveyors reported rises in new buyer enquiries, no doubt thanks in part to the Help to Buy scheme. While the number of homes coming onto the market also increased, rising supply levels are unable to cap the inflationary effects of demand on prices. Increases in property numbers remain insufficient to meet demand levels and look unlikely to do so in the immediate future.
RICS believes this upwards trajectory will continue into the next quarter. A net balance of 56 per cent more respondents expect transactions to increase further over the coming three months, while 48 per cent more forecast prices to assert upwards pressure.
Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: "It's encouraging that the market is starting to improve in all parts of the country with more buyers looking to make a move and more sales going through. Even so, it's a big concern that the supply of property coming to the market is lagging so far behind demand. This imbalance is likely to result in further upward pressure in prices over the coming months, particularly in the nation's hotspots."
- Monday 14 October 2013