RICS: Spring optimism helps lift housing market despite election uncertainty (UK)

Sentiment rebounded in April helped by the better weather with surveyors expecting a post election bounce, says RICS UK Housing Market survey published today (11 May 2010). Seventeen percent more chartered surveyors reported a rise than a fall in house prices up from 9 percent in March. London led the upsurge in positive price sentiment with 55 percent more surveyors reporting a rise, up from 32 percent. Elsewhere, surveyors are still reporting house price rises in every region except for Wales and Yorkshire and Humberside.

Activity is expected to rise over the coming months with many surveyors anticipating a post-election bounce. The sales expectations net balance rose from six percent to 25 percent. While the price expectations net balance rose from a negative two percent to a positive seven percent.

The newly agreed sales net balance turned positive for the first time this year. 12 percent more surveyors saw vendors agree a sale up from a negative reading of eight percent in March. The net balance on newly agreed sales in London jumped from one percent to 45 percent although the strongest reading was in the North West.

The average number of completed sales rose for the first time in three months to 17.4 percent per surveyor, while the average stock of property on surveyors' books decreased by six percent on the month to 61 properties per surveyor. This had the effect of raising the sales to stock ratio - a key indicator of future house price inflation - from 25 percent in March to 28 in April. This is the first upward movement of this indicator in 2010.

A net balance of 11 percent of surveyors saw a rise in new instructions while new buyer enquiries rose from one percent to eight percent.

Commenting, RICS spokesperson, Jeremy Leaf said: "For much of 2010, the housing market has been under the shadow of the general election with the gap between supply and demand growing wider as potential house buyers opted to stand on the sidelines awaiting the outcome of the poll. However, the start of spring has seen renewed optimism with the good weather improving sentiment and surveyors expecting an increase in both sales and house prices. The housing market often sees an increase in new instructions in the early part of the year with sales boosted in the spring and this year has been no exception."

Source: RICS

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