Home sales at three year peak

House prices predicted to rise nearly 30% over next five years

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The Independent Online

The number of homes sold in the UK over the last three months reached its highest level since January 2010, according to the latest Royal Institution for Charterd Surveyors (RICS) figures.

Chartered surveyors in the UK sold on average 17.9 properties between March and May and predict further sales rises over the coming months.

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, said: "May was an interesting month for the housing market. More people decided to get out there and view property and more transactions went through than in quite some time. Most encouragingly of all, though, is that stability is not confined purely to London and the South East, as has been the case, but is now starting to extend to areas right across the country. There is still a very long way to go until we see a full scale recovery but green shoots are beginning to sprout."

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said: "The fact that the RICS data shows home sales have hit their highest point since January 2010 will only add to the head of steam building in the property market.  Back then, consumer choice was limited to around 4,500 mortgage products on average whereas in May there were almost twice as many available - over 9,600 - through mortgage brokers or direct from lenders.

“We are starting to see queues forming, as the burst of activity draws people's attention to a window of opportunity when it comes to buying and selling property. With so many good deals out there buyers are keen to act before prices climb any higher, while homeowners looking to sell can find themselves spoilt for choice when it comes to attracting an offer.”

Meanwhile, the latest price forecast from Chesterton Humberts is that over the next six months national house prices will rise by 5.5 per cent, with total growth exceeding 28 per cent between now and 2017.

Nick Barnes, head of Chesterton Humberts’ research department, said: "We have seen green shoots flatter to deceive before, however, this time around the level of consumer confidence appears more robust and if favourable mortgage finance remains available, the long awaited recovery may at last be sustained. What we need in tandem with this upswing, however, is an increase in housing supply to mitigate any potential price bubble."

Chesterton Humberts predicts that East Anglia will outperform London for the first time since August 2005, with average increases of 6.3 per cent per annum between period 2013-2017, compared to London’s 6.2 per cent. Elswhere around the country its projected growth figures are East Midlands and Yorkshire & Humber up 25 per cent, followed by West Midlands (19.6 per cent), North West (18.3 per cent) and North East (11.8 per cent).