MARCH saw the highest fraction of surveyors reporting house price increases for 32 months, according to figures released today.
Twenty-one per cent of surveyors across England and Wales told the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that prices climbed over the first three months of 2013, the biggest chunk saying so since June 2010. This came combined with a three-year peak in home sales – 17.4 per cent during the first quarter of the year.
But even with these highs, slightly more respondents told RICS that prices had fell over the three months up to and including March than said they rose.
This meant that prices had been roughly stable for the past six months, RICS said. “Confidence has been slowly returning to the UK housing market since the end of 2012 and transactions have also risen for three consecutive months,” the industry group said.
RICS residential director Peter Bolton King 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,” he added.
Surveyors expect the recent improvement in the market to carry on, with a positive balance of 19 per cent of those polled expecting sales to climb in the next three months, and a balance of three per cent saying prices will rise in that period.
But the market is sharply divided between London and the rest. In only one region other than London – the East Midlands – did a majority of the survey’s respondents say prices rose in the past three months, while prices fell everywhere else.