The latest market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors shows that the stock of homes on sale with agents has fallen - again - making it 10 months in a row without an increase.
In November, eight per cent more RICS respondents reported a decrease in new homes coming on to the market. This is a trend that has persisted since almost non-stop since early 2014 and on average over the past six months buyer demand has outpaced supply across all UK regions.
The survey is littered with remarks from agents saying how relatively few properties they have for sale. This has prompted Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, to say: “I can’t recall a set of comments in the residential survey that have so frequently drawn attention to lack of stock on the market. Given this, it is hard not to envisage prices continuing to climb upwards as we move through the early stages of 2016.”
Although all regions have a balance of RICS members reporting price increases over those reporting falls or stagnation, London is no longer the most bullish region. Instead, prices are rising at the fastest pace in East Anglia, the South East and the East Midlands.
Last December’s stamp duty rises for most properties valued over £937,000 were cited by surveyors as one of the main reasons for sluggish activity in London and the south east.
However, the survey shows that RICS members are positive on the outlook for 2016 with 47 per cent more expecting to see a rise rather than a fall in activity - this is the highest figure for almost two years, and appears to be down to recent announcements on Help to Buy and the Starter Homes initiative.
“It remains to be seen how successful the government’s latest set of initiatives will be in driving up the rate of new build but with the best will in the world, it is likely that the boost to demand will come through rather more rapidly than the expansion of the development pipeline” warns Rubinsohn.