The number of new property sales instructions increased last month for the first time in more than two years, surveyors have reported, helped in part by rising buy-to-let activity.
This promising news for estate agents is contained within the latest market survey from RICS, which says there a “few signs of life as houses start to come back on to the market”.
Agents shouldn’t crack open the bubbly quite yet. RICS also says average stock levels per branch remain not far above recent historic lows at an average of 42.5 properties.
“It therefore remains to be seen whether the increase in May truly marks the beginning of supply pressures easing,” it says.
Also, nearly a fifth of member surveyors canvassed by RICS said the number of valuations they completed last month was lower than the same period last year.
The institute also says that recent declines in buyer interest are beginning to ease off, and that the number of agreed sales has held steady as more surveyors report positive results, the best RICS has recorded for over a year.
“Although agents are suggesting that a little more supply may have come onto the market in May, some of it from the Buy to Let sector, inventory levels still remain near historic lows,” says RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinstein (pictured).
“Indeed, with the run rate on appraisals continuing to track below the numbers of a year ago it is premature to conclude that a sustained upturn in available stock is imminent.”
Such a relatively flat market is also taking its toll on house price rises, which the Land Registry this morning revealed were rising by just 3.9% year-on-year, down from 4% the month before. The UK average price is now £226,906, it says.
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