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Industry reacts to March RICS residential survey

UK property RICS market survey

The stamp duty holiday extension saw the property sales market rise in March with the renewed momentum looking likely to be sustained over the near term. These are the finding in the latest RICS Residential Market Survey.

The survey posted the strongest results in some months and those surveyed anticipated a busy three months ahead for the market.

Indeed, the month saw agreed sales hit the strongest level since August 2020 whilst new buyer enquiries were at a high last seen in September 2020.

The report read: “The March 2021 RICS UK Residential Survey results show sales market activity picking up sharply over the month, with indicators on enquiries, sales and new instructions all improving noticeably compared to last time out.

Nigel Purves, CEO of Wayhome commented: “Demand clearly continued to outstrip supply in March, with a net balance of +59% of respondents citing a rise in house prices across the country. New buyer enquiries rose +42% – the strongest return since September 2020 and sales also spiked last month. This helped create a constant drumbeat of activity as we edged closer to the start of the traditionally busier springtime period.

“While we are seeing a new-found confidence among many buyers and sellers, sadly this just isn’t the case for a large proportion of aspiring homeowners across the UK. Even with the Stamp Duty extension for an extra three months spurring on hopeful home buyers, there are many who find themselves overlooked and ignored due to their household income not meeting a mortgage lender’s criteria. This is despite them already having a deposit saved and being able to afford the equivalent of mortgage repayments in rent each month. More needs to be done to level the playing field and provide people with alternative routes into home ownership.”

Rich Horner, Head of Individual Protection at MetLife, comments: “Thanks to the chancellor’s extension of the stamp duty holiday, and the introduction of the 95% mortgage scheme, it’s been another positive month for the housing sector. One that could have suffered severely had the stamp duty holiday ended abruptly.

“In the months ahead, we should continue to see a surge in homeownership, particularly as the new 95% mortgage scheme will make buying a home a reality for more first-time buyers. We’re also seeing more lenders offering their own competitive mortgage deals. Despite the success of the measures, potential buyers need to be wary of their affordability and ensure they’re not living above their means, particularly as homes up to the value of £600,000 are eligible under the scheme. If this were to happen, house prices could continue to inflate and, as the scheme is accessible to all types of buyers, first-time buyers could continue to be locked out of the market altogether.

“As homebuyers rush to make their move ahead of the new deadline they need to ensure they have the appropriate protection in place should the worst happen. No one wants to make their home buying dream to come true only for the unthinkable of falling ill or having an accident to happen. Speaking to an adviser can go along way if they’re unsure or need advice.”