RICS: buyers return to housing market

Latest RICS residential survey indicates buyers are returning to the housing market.

Homebuyer demand across the UK picked up in September, the RICS UK Residential Market Survey has found.

Demand picked up for the first time since February, with 8% more chartered surveyors reporting an increase in buyer enquiries.

While the September 2016 data shows an increase in reported buyer enquiries, in relative terms the pick-up was modest.

While homebuyer demand rose modestly, the number of new instructions received by agents fell again.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The market does now appear to be settling down following the significant headwinds encountered through the spring and summer.

"Buyers do appear to be returning, albeit relatively slowly, but the big issue that continues to be highlighted by respondents is the lack of fresh stock on the market.

“Although this is not a new story, it is a significant one having ramifications for both prices and the level of turnover.”

The average level of stock on estate agents’ books remains close to historic lows at just over 45 properties.

Over the next three months house prices are predicted to rise, with 14% more respondents expecting to see an increase.

However, there remains a greater level of caution in Central London where prices are expected to fall, albeit only modestly, over the same period.

The lack of choice for would-be purchasers also appears to be restricting overall sales activity for the time being.

Rubinsohn added: “Central London remains something of an outlier with contributors telling us this is the one part of the market where there may be further give on prices in the near term.

“Elsewhere the price trend still seems on the up.”