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UK housing market reaches first high in two and a half years, RICS survey shows13th March 2013

A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed the amount of houses sold in the UK reached its highest level in over two-and-a-half years, with chartered surveyors selling an average of 16.8 homes in the three months to February.

Low interest rates and the increase in mortgage finance availability from the government’s Funding for Lending scheme may be slowly encouraging would-be buyers to test the market.

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, said: “It’s encouraging to see that the housing market now appears to be picking-up across most parts of the UK despite on-going concerns about the health of the economy. This may, in part, be down to the growing availability of mortgage finance through schemes such as Funding for Lending. However even with activity running at its best level since the middle of 2010, it is still well down on its pre-crisis norm.”

During February, the increasing market stability seen in recent months translated into an uplift in sales and surveyors are cautiously optimistic that this trend will continue. Transaction levels will continue to rise moderately rather than fall over the coming three months.

Chartered surveyors reported a flat trend in prices with 6 per cent claiming that prices had fallen rather than risen. While in negative territory, prices have now remained relatively stable since the autumn.

The amount of homes coming onto the market was stable last month and around 1 per cent of surveyors reported rises in new instructions. Even so, the number of properties available remain at historically low levels.

Looking ahead, chartered surveyors expect prices continue to stabilise over the coming three months as confidence gradually returns to the nation’s market. Beyond this, there is a growing suspicion that prices will begin to edge upwards at a headline level with 12 months price expectations indicator climbing to its best level since the series was started in February 2010.

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