RICS reveals house price rise

Amanda Jarvis

January 18, 2006

An increase in buyer activity and property sales has boosted surveyor confidence. Eight per cent more surveyors reported a rise in prices over the last three months than a fall compared to four per cent in November. Modest price rises are expected to continue into the year. Surveyors are reporting the return of first time buyers, who now believe the market will fall no further.

Price rises, led by London and Scotland, are evident across the country. The Midlands and East Anglia are the only regions still seeing mild falls.

The quarter to December saw the largest increase in completed sales (eight per cent) in over two years, despite being a traditionally quiet time of year. Surveyors are expressing concern that an influx of properties to the market in December may not satisfy renewed demand.

Low levels of housing supply are continuing to keep first time buyers off the property ladder. Prices for first time buyer properties continue to rise ahead of wages and the rest of the housing market, growing 18 per cent compared to a 15 per cent average since January 2004.

RICS residential spokesman Jeremy Leaf commented:
‘The housing market is definitely seeing signs of a recovery. We expect the positive activity at the end of last year to continue over the coming months.

‘Home buying and selling is being supported by a healthy job market and business climate, which looks set to continue for now though one potential obstacle to growth could be a shortage of available properties to meet growing demand.

‘First time buyers are in an increasingly difficult position as property prices at their end of the market grow at a disproportionate rate, partially due to continued competition from buy-to-let investors.’

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