RICS UK Housing Market Survey

Amanda Jarvis

February 16, 2006

Nine per cent more chartered surveyor estate agents confirmed a rise in prices than a fall for the three months to January, compared to eight per cent in December. Buyer enquiries have increased for the eighth consecutive month, the longest continual increase since the survey began*. Completed sales are up by 15 per cent compared to this time last year. This heightened activity is driving price rises, though there are no signs that the market is returning to the boom conditions between 1997 and 2002.

Overall stocks of property on chartered surveyor estate agents’ books fell by two per cent over the last three months and are at a 15 month low, despite an increase of new property placed on the market by sellers.

Consumer confidence has improved and mortgage interest rates have been heading down. However, recent weaknesses in the labour market remain a concern as its strengths have been an important factor in lifting housing market activity.

Price rises are being reported across the UK (with the exception of the Midlands) and are strongest in London and Scotland. The London market is still being bolstered by big City bonuses, with premium level buyers spilling into the markets in Southern England, which are showing renewed life.

RICS spokesperson Ian Perry said:
“After months of struggling, the housing market is picking up. The current dynamics are favourable to sellers as the amount of property available to buyers remains limited. Reasonably priced properties are selling well. December and January are traditionally quiet months so the Spring, when more people look to move, appears promising.”

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