Further signs of strength for UK's house market, says RICS

THERE was further evidence earlier today that the UK housing market is beginning to recover, according to data from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).<br /><br />The balance of surveyors reporting falling rather than rising prices narrowed in May to -44.1, due to increased demand and tighter supply in the housing market.<br /><br />New buyer enquiries rose for the seventh month in a row and the newly agreed sales measure remained in positive territory for the third consecutive month, indicating that an increase in enquiries is feeding through to actual sales. On the supply side, the average number of unsold properties on surveyors&rsquo; books fell to 58.4, the lowest since May 2004. <br /><br />Last week the Bank of England reported a rise in mortgage approvals in May and Hometrack announced a rise in house sales last month. <br /><br />Other data released last week also pointed towards a return to growth for the UK economy, which was confirmed yesterday by BDO Stoy Hayward&rsquo;s manufacturing optimism index, which is starting to show signs of rallying. The optimism index rose to 87.4 in May and output levels jumped to 86 from 83.6 in April.