Warm weather helps give housing market a boost
Tuesday 10 April 2012
The unusually warm weather and a rush of first-time buyers trying to beat a stamp duty deadline gave the housing market a boost last month, a report said today.
New buyer inquiries edged up in March, with 9% more estate agents reporting increases rather than decreases in demand, the highest reading in almost two years, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said.
A balance of 10% of surveyors reported falling prices in March, the least negative reading since June 2010, as prices continued to edge downwards in all regions except London.
The market saw an upturn in activity as the March 24 deadline for the end of the stamp-duty free period for first-time buyers on properties worth under £250,000 approached.
The report said: “Another factor that appears to have had a positive impact during March is the weather. Indeed, March was 'warmer' than normal.”
The study said that this could mean the findings gave a more robust impression than the underlying trend, although it said there was “growing evidence” of a more fundamental improvement, with surveyors becoming more optimistic.
Expectations for future sales remain positive, with a balance of 20% of surveyors expecting sales to increase over the coming three months.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Demand saw a slight boost in March as many first-time buyers looked to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline. There has been a gentle increase in activity across the market in the early part of the year but it remains to be seen whether this can continue, given the changes in the Budget and ongoing problems affecting the economy.
“London continues to outperform the rest of the UK in terms of prices but, interestingly, the North West did see an increase in activity in March.”
Estate agents have criticised the Government's decision to impose a 7% stamp duty rate on £2 million properties, saying it will affect sellers and buyers all the way down property chains.
Predictions for future prices across the UK remained flat for the second consecutive month, suggesting that gently increasing levels of demand may be the key factor behind the more optimistic outlook.
The North, East Anglia and Scotland saw buyer interest drop, while surveyors elsewhere reported a steady increase.
But the North West saw a “notable” upturn in activity, with buyer interest reaching its highest level since the end of 2009.
The level of new properties coming onto the market generally remained “stable” with a balance of 2% more respondents reporting a rise in instructions.
The main findings for the study, which questions chartered surveyors working in the residential sales market, cover England and Wales, but some information covering Scotland and Northern Ireland is also collected.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness contradicts athlete version
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...