Supply outstripping demand

Nia Williams

March 9, 2010

New instruction and new buyer enquiries rebounded in February following a weather skewed dip in January with both net balances turning positive. For the second consecutive month the new instructions net balance outpaced the new buyer enquiries net balance – the first sustained shift towards supply for two years.

Seven per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise than fall in new buyer enquiries compared with the previous month up from a negative reading of 20% while a net balance of 15% of surveyors saw a rise in new instructions which compares with a negative balance of 5% in January.

Seventeen per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise than a fall in house prices down from 31% in January. Surveyors in the regions are still reporting house price gains in most areas but the net balances are a little less positive than they were. However, surveyors in the North, Yorkshire and Humberside, Wales and the West Midlands are reporting house price falls.

The price expectations net balance also remains in positive territory but the latest reading is the lowest since July 2009. Meanwhile, the closely-watched sales to stock ratio is also beginning to edge lower which is consistent with the housing market becoming a little less tight.

The newly agreed sales net balance fell for the second consecutive month but surveyors still expect sales to increase indicating that the recent drop in transactions is a reflection of recent adverse weather conditions.

Commenting, Jeremy Leaf, RICS spokesperson, said: “Most market indicators are still positive and consistent with further house price increases. However the magnitude of the gains going forward is likely to continue to ease reflecting the fact that new supply coming onto the market is starting to outstrip fresh demand.”

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