Sellers were reluctant to put their homes on the market until last week’s Stamp Duty announcement, the latest RICS Residential Market Survey has claimed.
Homeowners sat tight while they waited for news of the expected stamp duty extension says RICS, which reports that the number of new buyer enquiries and properties listed for sale fell last month, albeit at a slower rate than in January.
But respondents are optimistic about rising sales activity in the coming three months, helped by the easing of lockdown.
The number of new buyer enquiries fell, with the net balance coming in at –9%, (up from -29% in January) while the number of listed properties also fell for the second consecutive month. This lack of demand from both buyers and sellers saw a broadly flat trend in newly agreed sales, with a net balance of +1% of respondents reporting a rise in completed sales.
Near term sales expectations moved into marginally positive territory at +6% this month, marking the strongest reading since last October. Sales volumes are also expected to grow over the next 12 months as a net balance of +16% of respondents anticipate an increase – the strongest net balance since February 2020.
Simon Rubinsohn (left), RICS‘ chief economist, says the survey sends a very clear message that more needs to be done to address the shortfall in supply, with price and rent expectations very evidently continuing to accelerate.
He adds: “Planning reform, which the Government is addressing, alongside supporting a sustainable and inclusive recovery in the economy are key elements in encouraging the private sector to increase the pipeline of new build but…it is critical that a holistic approach is taken to the housing market, ensuring that policy is designed to deliver across tenures and indeed to improve the environmental quality of the existing stock through a retrofit programme.”