Landlords trying to beat Chancellor George Osborne’s stamp duty surcharge deadline are behind the latest upbeat assessment of the housing market from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
In its latest survey of residential members it says demand in December flouted the usual seasonal slowdown and rose to a three-month high after the government announcement that a three per cent duty surcharge would be imposed on April 1.
In one region, the north west, 40 per cent of chartered surveyors reported a rise in new buyer enquiries in December, up from 19 per cent in November.
RICS says high prices across most market sectors continues to be fuelled by a relative shortage of properties but new instructions to sell homes rose for the first time since January last year.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the RICS, says a further increase in activity is likely before the April stamp duty deadline.
In the longer term, he believes prices in London, the South East and East Anglia would rise by a further five per centr over each of the next five years.