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Estate agents' mood brighter, says survey - RJA Properties: Lettings Agent Manchester
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20 May 2010

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Home information packs (Hips) will be consigned to history, the Government has announced.
17 Mar 2010

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Estate agents should be subject to the same levels of regulation as letting agents, it has been been stated.
22 Jan 2010

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Thousands of Britons with holiday and retirement homes in northern Cyprus face eviction after the Court of Appeal upheld a decision that a British couple must surrender disputed land.

Estate agents' mood brighter, says survey


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A majority of estate agents are reporting that house prices rose over the summer months, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says today, the first time in two years that optimism has outweighed pessimism on this survey.


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In August, almost a quarter of agents reported that house prices in their area had risen over the previous three months, compared with 14 per cent saying prices had fallen. The net balance of 10.7 per cent was the highest reading since May 2007.

The Rics survey, which is closely watched as it gives an early indication of trends in the housing market, provides further evidence that activity and confidence in the housing market is recovering.

Agents also reported increased sales, with the indicator rising from its deep trough of the winter towards the levels of last spring. Average sales per surveyor rose 10 per cent in August to stand at 17, far in excess of the turn of the year but still a third lower than at the start of 2008.

Stocks of property on agents' books remain low, although this month there were the first indications that the stability and optimism in the market are encouraging a small rise in the supply of property.

Jeremy Leaf of Rics said: "Although it is clear that house prices are now rising, it continues to be the lack of supply that is underpinning the recovery in most parts of the country."

Alongside a slight fall in new buyer interest, the increased availability of properties "should enable more potential purchasers to find desirable properties to buy, but it could also present a challenge to the firmer trend in prices, particularly when interest rates finally begin to move upwards," he added.

The figures were released as the Council for Mortgage Lenders also reported an increased in gross mortgage lending in July. Paul Samter, CML economist said: "It's tempting to call the turn in the mortgage market at this point . . . but there are still constraints affecting the lending industry's capacity to fund increased lending, as well as less consumer motivation to remortgage for the time being."

The improved picture of the housing market is not evenly spread across the country, however, with optimism marked in London, the south-east and Scotland, and pessimism still evident in the Midlands and the north-east.

While the Rics balance of optimism on prices in London has surged from -71 per cent in August 2008 to +43 per cent a year later, in Yorkshire the improvement has been more limited, rising from -93 to -28.

House prices have now been reported as rising strongly over the summer on all the leading measures, with prices still around 20 per cent off their late 2007 peak.

But few believe that prices are likely to return to that level soon as lending remains tight, unemployment has risen sharply in the recession, and part of the reason for the gains in prices since the spring has been unusually low numbers of properties for sale.

Once those thinking of selling believe they will get a fair price rather than a rock-bottom one, economists expect the supply of properties to increase and price rises to moderate.

Financial Times

 
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