House prices are growing across all regions of the UK as rising demand puts pressure on supply, according to RICS.
Sales of new homes increased for a third consecutive month – but as the Coronavirus spreads, the organisation has called for greater government support.
The February 2020 RICS UK Residential Market Survey shows the number of new homes coming onto the market also increased for a third straight month, with a 15% rise in February.
The West Midlands and the South-East saw the biggest increase in properties for sale.
Residential lettings also saw demand increasing from prospective tenants, though the number of properties listed by landlords for rent fell again – extending the decline first recorded in 2016.
One in five agents reported a rise in buyer inquiries, according to the survey, with 61% of respondents saying they expected the volume of homes sold over the year to continue to increase.
Strong demand saw prices rise in February, with 29% of contributors reporting house price growth – up from 18% the previous month.
While there was growth in all regions of the UK, London, Yorkshire and the Humber and East Anglia saw the strongest increase in house prices.
Furthermore, 22% respondents expected house prices to continue to rise further over the spring.
However, the survey was carried out before the full impact of Coronavirus became clear. Concerns have been raised by property professionals about the impact of the disease, amid fears it could hit viewings and affect the traditionally strong spring house-selling season.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “It is encouraging that the results of the latest survey continue to show a positive trend both in terms of potential buyer interest and new instructions to agents. Indeed, this is the first time since 2014 that new supply to the market on the RICS indicator has increased for three consecutive months.
“Inventory levels are still at historically low levels despite this 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.”