House sales at 'three-year high'

Chartered surveyors sold around 17 homes on average over the three months to March, marking the highest number recorded since March 2010, in further signs that the market is improving

House sales lifted to a three-year high in March, while prices also saw a "marked" turnaround, surveyors reported today.

Chartered surveyors sold around 17 homes on average over the three months to March, marking the highest number recorded since March 2010, in further signs that the market is improving.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which published the findings, said that 21 per cent of surveyors reported an increase in house prices, which is the highest proportion recorded since June 2010.

Overall, a balance of 1 per cent more surveyors still reported house prices falling rather than rising, although this was significantly down on the 7 per cent net balance reporting falls the previous month.

Demand from would-be buyers has intensified, with a balance of 11 per cent more surveyors reporting increases in new buyer enquiries rather than falls, marking the highest share in five months.

RICS said that transactions have been on the increase for the last three months as confidence slowly returns to the market, helping to free up "stagnant" housing chains.

Surveyors are optimistic that the sales rebound is set to continue, with a balance of 19 per cent more expecting transactions to increase over the next three months rather than fall.

They are also upbeat about prices increasing, although surveyors tended to believe that prices are more likely to lift over the next 12 months than in the shorter-term.

RICS said that more surveyors in Northern Ireland reported price increases rather than decreases for the first time since July 2007.

House prices in Northern Ireland have seen sharp falls since the start of the economic downturn, following a period of strong increases, and RICS said it will need to see similar results over the next few months "before being convinced that this market has turned a corner".

London remains the "standout performer" in terms of house price gains, while surveyors saw more modest increases in the South East.

Elsewhere in the UK, surveyors were generally less negative about prices than they have been recently. Wales, the South West and the Midlands all recorded flat or slightly negative price balances. Meanwhile, Scotland has seen less severe price falls in 2013 compared with last year.

In terms of sales, surveyors in the West Midlands have seen the biggest increases in homes sold since the start of the year, followed by those in London.

In contrast, the trend of sales increases was found to be flattest in East Anglia and the East Midlands, RICS said.

Lenders and estate agents have been reporting signs of a tentative housing market recovery following the launch of the Government's Funding for Lending scheme last August, which has prompted an increase in mortgage availability and is seeing lenders continue to slash their rates.

Further plans to help those with smaller deposits were recently unveiled in the Budget. The Government's Help to Buy Scheme will give a helping hand to people with deposits of just 5 per cent.

Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: "A buoyant, healthy property market is central to economic recovery and, while these are still very much early signs, it is encouraging that sales are beginning to pick-up.

"The increase in potential buyers getting out there and viewing property is particularly encouraging.

"Thanks to initiatives such as Funding for Lending, mortgages are becoming more accessible to buyers, which is gently easing the pressure on the market and freeing up stagnant chains."

PA

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project