With the new Government finally settled the estate agent members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believe that house prices are set for a post-election bounce. The closely-watched RICS report for April showed a general consensus that house prices would continue to rise over the next few months, despite the general belief that more houses seem to be coming up for sale.
April is a month which traditionally sees an improvement in the property market but sales increased only slightly this year, up by 1.5% to an average of 17 per agent. There was also a reduction in the number of houses on the average agent’s books – down from 67 to 61, casting some confusion on the general trend of the narrowing supply to demand gap, which has been widely reported in the early part of the year.
The report also showed a positive sentiment by stating that 17% more surveyors reported a rise than a fall in prices – up from 9% in March. Commenting on the latest figures from the Institute, RICS spokesperson, Jeremy Leaf said: “For much of 2010, the housing market has been under the shadow of the general election with the gap between supply and demand growing wider as potential house buyers opted to stand on the sidelines awaiting the outcome of the poll. However, the start of spring has seen renewed optimism with the good weather improving sentiment and surveyors expecting an increase in both sales and house prices. The housing market often sees an increase in new instructions in the early part of the year with sales boosted in the spring and this year has been no exception.”
RICS agents cited rising property values in every region apart from Humberside, Yorkshire and Wales. As is so often the case, house prices were strongest in London with 55% more surveyors reporting a rise than a fall – up from 32% from the previous month. More RICS data showed that 11% more agents saw a rise in new instructions than a fall and 8% more agents reported a rise in buyer enquiries.
Looking forward, the Institute predicts that market activity will rise – 25% more of its members believe this than those that don’t. This is a substantial increase in positive sentiment on the previous month (6%). The percentage of members that believe that prices will continue to rise, over those that don’t, rose from -2% to 7% from March to April. Home owners are already hoping that their positive approach is the right one and that this new Conservative/Lib Dem alliance is worth the hype.