The average number of houses sold per chartered surveyor jumped to its highest level in six years during the first three months of 2014 as increasing numbers of buyers looked to test the housing market right across the country, says the RICS March Residential Market Survey.
In the three months to March, respondents sold on average 22.7 homes, the highest amount since February 2008. This latest increase in transactions comes at a time when the market is showing greater signs of life right across the country. Last month, all parts of the UK saw buyer enquiries increase, with the exception of Wales where new interest was static after strong growth in previous months. Moreover, newly agreed sales rose most notably away from London and the South East for the second consecutive month.
However, while activity is now showing encouraging signs of life in many areas that were previously fairly stagnant, the market in general continues to be hampered by the lack of homes coming onto the market. New instructions from vendors continued to fall in March as the predicted ‘spring bounce’ failed to materialise, a situation that was reflected in most parts of the UK.
Significantly, the increase in activity continues to be accompanied by rising house prices. During March, 57% more surveyors across the country saw prices rise rather than fall. Outside London and the South East, prices experienced the most noticeable growth in the South West and the East Midlands.
Looking ahead, with no indication that the imbalance between buyer demand and homes on the market is going to change any time soon, surveyors expected prices to continue to increase as we enter the summer months.