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RICS: Buyer demand hits four-year high in time for spring

The property market appears to be benefiting from the much-hoped for spring bounce, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Its latest UK Residential Survey for March 2024 shows improved sentiment for metrics such as buyer demand, sales and even house prices.

According to the survey, buyer demand has continued to rise, with a net balance of +8% of respondents citing an increase in new buyer enquiries during March - the most positive result since February 2022.

On the property supply side, the flow of new listings coming onto the sales market increased for a fourth successive month, with a net balance of +13% of respondents noticing a pick-up in new instructions in March.  

The report said agents are also doing more appraisals, which could boost listings in the coming weeks and months.

Looking at expectations, respondents predict further improvement in activity over the coming months, with a net balance of +13% predicting sales volumes rising in the next three months, compared with a reading of +6% previously. Similarly, looking ahead to the 12 twelve-months, a net balance of +46% of respondents predict sales activity rising from +42% in February.

House price trends have also grown less negative for the seventh month in a row, rising from a net balance of -67% in September 2023 to -4% in March. This suggests a stable picture is now in place for house prices across the UK, the report said.

Tarrant Parsons, senior economist for RICS, said: “Demand continues to recover gradually across the UK housing market, with new buyer enquiries rising for a third month in succession according to the latest survey feedback.

“With the inflation backdrop turning a little less difficult of late, this has led to expectations that the Bank of England will be able to start lowering interest rates later in the year. This should continue to support the market to a certain degree going forward.

“In keeping with this, near-term sales expectations point to an improving outlook, albeit the scope for an acceleration in activity will still be relatively limited given mortgage rates are set to remain much higher than in 2020/21.”


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