Election spurs British home owners to sell

SELLERS returned to the property market with a vengeance in March with the net balance of new instructions at its highest level since May 2007, the latest survey from the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (Rics) will show today.

A net balance of 21 per cent of surveyors saw a rise in new instructions compared with a balance of 16 per cent in February. This is the third successive month that the new instructions net balance has outpaced the new buyer enquiries net balance.

But while vendors were keen to put their properties up for sale, driven by the political uncertainty generated by the impending general election, new buyer enquiries stabilised last month.

This divergence of sellers and buyers meant that only nine per cent more estate agents reported a rise than a fall in house prices down from 18 per cent in February, slowing the rise of house prices.

The Rics said that activity is expected to rise over the coming months, but at a more subdued pace than was expected in February. The sales expectations net balance fell from a positive 15 per cent to five per cent and prices are expected to stabilise over the coming months.

Data from the Rics showed the average stock of property on surveyors’ books increased by six per cent in March on the previous month.