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Written by rosalind renshaw

Buyer demand for property rose to its highest level in over three years last month, the RICS said. But the NAEA, reporting for March, said buyer interest had waned – proving that it was either a case of what a difference a month makes, or that the two organisations have completely different takes on the market.

The RICS said that various government schemes, including Funding for Lending, and Help to Buy, were responsible for the uplift its members detected in April.

The NAEA, reporting its members’ views on the March market, said that applicants had fallen back slightly from an average of 289 in February to 286.

According to the upbeat RICS, new instructions from sellers and sales agreed also rose in April – the latter also to their highest level for three years. House prices were also up.

On the rentals side, tenancy demand continued to outstrip supply, with the RICS expecting rents to carry on rising, but by less than 2% over the coming year.

RICS global residential director Peter Bolton King said it was encouraging to see government initiatives having a positive impact on the property market. “Help to Buy in combination with the Funding for Lending scheme appears to be giving the market a shot in the arm,” he said.

“Thankfully, sales are expected to pick up over the coming months, albeit from historically low levels.”

He acknowledged that Help to Buy is having an effect and attracting interest, even though the mortgage guarantee element of the scheme does not come into effect until next January.

Despite reporting a fall-off in applicants, the NAEA was determined to try not to be outdone in the feel-good stakes.

It said that house sales remained steady, at an average of eight per branch, and that the decline in applicants simply heralded the return of the serious buyer. However, it did express concerns that there was a fall in the number of first-time buyers in March – which it said was down to government initiatives not having an effect (perhaps the NAEA and RICS could have a little chat with each other on this).

Also determinedly positive were chartered surveyors Connells Survey & Valuation, despite valuations activity last month being 24% lower than in March. Connells said  it was  nevertheless 39% up on last year.

The firm said the drop in the number of residential valuations in April was purely seasonal, and was lower than the 32% drop over the same two months last year. It pointed to the annual rise as grounds for positivity.
Connells also said there were 40% more valuations on behalf of first-time buyers than a year ago (question: should they tell the NAEA?). House purchase valuations on behalf of those moving house were 34% greater than a year ago.
However, it was remortgaging activity that grew the most on an annual basis. The number of remortgaging valuations is now 55% higher than a year ago (despite a fall of 27% compared to March). In a similar vein, buy-to-let valuations remain 27% above the level of April 2012.

As for first-time buyers, the Council of Mortgage Lenders does not agree with the NAEA’s view that they have fallen by the wayside. See next story.


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    this time he pasted stuff that was relevant. That means we are starting to get through.
    A gold star doesn't cost much but it means a lot!

    • 17 May 2013 10:57 AM
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    the place happy pasted from was right.

    • 16 May 2013 09:39 AM
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    Consumer good obsessed Britain was encouraged to spend spend spend well beyond its means with cheap unsecured credit. Gordon Brown kept Britain out of the global recession by doing so.

    By eck ain't we all paying for it now?

    • 15 May 2013 18:19 PM
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    Happy fool are you posting as Binky as well?

    • 15 May 2013 14:56 PM
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    To clarify what i am saying how many FTB'ers will be eligible for HTB mortgages even at 95% LTV, if they are spending more than they earn

    From the telegraph

    between 2005 and 2011, French households saved 11.8 per cent of their income, and Germans 10.9 per cent. By contrast, the UK figure was negative, -1.1 per cent, as Britons spent more than they earned. From 2005 to 2008, UK households were actually “living beyond their means, spending not just from their income but also their savings, or borrowing to fund spending”, the ONS said.

    • 15 May 2013 14:47 PM
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    We all know that the RICS really don't have a clue about what is going on in the real world of selling and buying houses.

    How do they know that, and I quote, "new instructions from sellers and sales agreed also rose in April – the latter also to their highest level for three years. House prices were also up" ??

    They certainly didn't ask my chain of 10 offices for any data and I reckon they probably didn't ask a lot more agents either.

    And as for "House prices were also up"...well what on earth does that mean??

    And, how does the RICS know that the government schemes are working?? I bet they haven't based that conclusion on any hard evidence.

    My own view is that the RICS really need to up their game a bit with their Press Releases and put some meat on the bones of their often wishy-washy statements.

    • 15 May 2013 13:20 PM
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    AC - this is what happens with lender forbearance and government stimulus to prop up prices, it keeps the voters and house builders happy but does nothing for your industry.

    However, I have a extended relative (yes an EA) singing the praises of Help to Buy, saying it will make prices rise and cause more panic buying thus increasing volumes
    He is the most positive i have heard him in months.

    I pointed out this needs properties being available to sell. He thinks demand will be driven by those in neg equity being able to move when the price indices and sentiment are more positive.

    Will lending criteria still be as strict as it has been over the last 2 years? Who knows but we will see who actually gets access to the help to buy money soon.

    • 15 May 2013 12:06 PM
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    Each survey currently being booked for mortgage purposes seems to have a 7-10 delay between booking date and survey date.

    Looks like they must be busy.

    We have had 3 properties that have gone above asking price in the last 4 weeks.

    What I would really like is that I had more properties - which is the same for all the agents I know - the market is starved of new instructions.

    • 15 May 2013 11:37 AM
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    ah - got it! Thank you.

    • 15 May 2013 09:35 AM
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    Binky, I think the ref was meant to be to Connells Surveyors rather than Connells EA.

    I had a B awful March but an excellent April

    • 15 May 2013 09:26 AM
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    ..I must be. Please explain.

    • 15 May 2013 09:01 AM
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    Binky, are you stupid?

    • 15 May 2013 08:56 AM
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    Quote: "Connells also said there were 40% more valuations on behalf of first-time buyers"........Call me old fashioned, but aren't "first time buyers" by definition, people who don't own a home?

    • 15 May 2013 08:51 AM
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    Forgive me for being just a tad cynical but isn't Bolton-King bound to claim early success for schemes Mr Prisk is overseeing?

    Is there any tangible and independent of RICS evidence at all to show that Funding for Lending, and Help to Buy, were responsible for the uplift RICS members claimed for April?

    Without such independent evidence it is simply not correct to attribute any upturn to two particular political schemes especially when as Bolton-King admits one isn't operational till next year.
    Given the 7 month delay those who will benefit from Mortgage guarantee have to wait before they can take advantage of the scheme, isn't there the likelihood of the market being talked into a feeding frenzy like the MIRAS one in 1988 that saw prices rocket then fall back with a large thud?

    Do some proper analysis; money laundering requirements require questions to be asked about the funding of Property purchases, so lets have some real, meaningful and auditable stats to back up what at present seems like very hollow PR and political spin.

    • 15 May 2013 08:25 AM
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