December’s RICS survey recorded the first rise in homes coming onto the market in nearly a year while buyer numbers also picked up and stock per surveyor fell during the month.
The RICS survey for December recorded a positive balance of 4% of surveyors reporting more houses coming onto the market during the month – the first positive new sales instructions balance in over 10 months.
However the new buyer enquiries balance also picked up during the month to 16%. So while the number of homes coming onto the market increased, buyer numbers grew even faster.
With unsold stock per surveyor falling to a record low of 44.5 the shortage of homes for sale worsened while a there was also drop in sales per surveyor from 18.1 to 17.5.
Hansen Lu, property economist at Capital Economics, said: “There is still little cause for celebration as we are seeing a worsening imbalance between active demand and supply.
“A possible explanation for rising buyer and seller numbers could be the recent changes to stamp duty on additional homes, announced in November’s Autumn Statement.
“Today’s data could show that potential landlords, who are still interested in entering the market, are looking to transact before the higher rates come into force. And the rise in sales instructions could be a sign that some landlords are exiting in response to the changes in mortgage interest tax relief.
“That said, there is still far too little evidence to make a firm conclusion. For a start, while we would expect a pick-up in landlords selling their properties to lead to a drop off in rental homes coming onto the market, December’s landlord instructions data wasn’t particularly weak for the time of year.
“And, with only one month’s figures, today’s result could simply be a temporary blip in the survey data.”