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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

RICS’ survey shows demand growing before virus worries hit

Sales in February grew, for the third consecutive month, according to the latest market snapshot from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Covering a period before the rapid escalation of concern over the health and financial repercussions of the Coronavirus outbreak, this latest survey revealed a net balance of 20 per cent of respondents seeing more new buyer enquiries. 

In addition, 61 per cent of survey respondents - mostly agents - anticipated an even better sales outlook for the rest of the year.

New homes coming onto the sales market also nudged up for a third straight month, with new instructions seeing a net balance increase of 15 per cent in February, with the West Midlands and the South East seeing the biggest bump in new properties coming onto the market.

However, the threat from the Coronavirus hangs over the RICS survey and agents contributing to it have raised worries about its effect on viewings and the traditional spring house selling season.

“Inventory levels are still at historically low levels … but the firmer trend in appraisals suggests that the picture could improve over the coming months providing the Coronavirus doesn’t become more of an inhibitor of activity in the sector” says Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist.

He adds: “For now at least, feedback around expectations are consistent with activity levels continuing to strengthen albeit relatively modestly.”

The February survey also saw prices increase with a net balance of 29 per cent of contributors reporting growth - that’s up from 18 per cent the previous month. 

While there was growth in all regions of the UK, London, Yorkshire and the Humber and East Anglia all saw the strongest increase in house prices. Furthermore, a net balance of 22 per cent of agents responding are expecting house prices to continue to rise further over the spring.

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