The property market continues to simmer rather than boil as the economic and political storm clouds gather, the latest RICS housing market analysis reveals.
Its survey, which quizzed member agents on their property sales during April, shows that would-be buyers are still on the hunt for a new home, whilst stock levels and new listings remain scarce, while many agents are bracing themselves for the market to quieten down later this year.
A net balance of 10% of estate agents reported increasing enquiries from buyers but the number of new properties being listed for sale saw a net balance of minus 1% saying supply was falling rather than rising.
Respondents reported an average of just 38 properties for sale per branch, which RICS says is ‘extremely low’.
Also, agreed sales were flat having risen in each past two months, returning a net balance of -2% during April.
All of this is having a predictable upward pressure on house prices – 80% of respondents reported rising prices, up from 74% during March.
“Despite growing macro headwinds in the form of cost-of-living pressures and higher interest rates, the UK residential market continues to see modestly positive trends in new buyer enquiries,” says RICS economist Tarrant Parsons (pictured).
For the time being at least, even though there is a lot of caution about the future economic landscape, it seems that limited supply available on the market, coupled with steady demand growth, are still the overriding drivers of house prices.”
Tom Bill (pictured), head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, says: “One lesson from the pandemic is not to expect normal service to resume overnight and so it is proving with the UK housing market. “Demand is now robust rather than fierce as the economic uncertainties mount but supply remains stubbornly low, which is largely the result of a vicious circle that means owners are holding back from listing because they cannot find anywhere to buy themselves.”
How does the RICS survey work?
‘Net balance’ is the percentage of agents reporting a decrease subtracted from the percentage who have seen an increase.