UK home sales hit four year high, says RICS

The number of homes sold in the UK hit an almost four year high last month as the housing market recovery continues to gather pace, according to the latest market report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The average amount of properties sold per chartered surveyor in the three months to September reached 18.7. Although still historically low, this is the highest figure since November 2009 and RICS said that it demonstrates the extent to which the market is now picking up across the country.

In tandem with increasing numbers of sales, prices continued to grow with 54% more respondents reporting rises rather than falls. Prices have now steadily increased since Easter and this growth was seen right across the UK. Last month, every part of the country saw prices go up, with the exception of the North East where prices fell modestly for the second successive month.

Unsurprisingly, with government schemes such as Help to Buy enabling more buyers to access the market, demand rose steadily during September as a net balance of 49% more surveyors reported rises in new buyer enquiries. While the amount of homes coming onto the market also rose, it was not enough to keep pace with the burgeoning level of demand.

Looking ahead, predictions for future growth are equally upbeat. A net balance of 56% more respondents expect the number of transactions to increase further over the coming three months, while 48% more predict prices to continue their push upwards.
‘It's encouraging that the market is starting to improve in all parts of the country with more buyers looking to make a move and more sales going through,’ said Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director.

‘Even so, it's a big concern that the supply of property coming to the market is lagging so far behind demand. This imbalance is likely to result in further upward pressure in prices over the coming months, particularly in the nation's hotspots,’ he added.

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of property finders, Garrington, described the figures as encouraging. ‘The market needs transaction levels to recover strongly. Any functioning market needs enough transactions to fuel that market and without fuel the market will stall,’ he explained.

‘The numbers show that the stalling period appears to be far behind us and we are moving forward with over half of surveyors expecting the number of transactions to increase further over the coming three months,’ he added.