‘House prices hit three year high thanks to increased confidence’

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Increased confidence in the housing market saw prices in the South East hit a three-year high during May, according to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey, released today.

32 per cent more chartered surveyors London reported house prices rose rather than fell during May – the best reading since February 2010.

Moreover, price expectations in the South East are at the highest levels since November 2009, with a net balance of 34 percent more chartered surveyors anticipating prices will continue to rise over the coming three months.

Sales levels were also up, with chartered surveyors reporting rises in newly agreed sales for the fifth consecutive month. Meanwhile, a net balance of 42 percent more chartered surveyors anticipate house sales will increase over the coming months.

A key driver behind this jump in activity is the recent upturn in the number of buyers testing the market. Interest from would-be buyers rose in April following the introduction of the Help to Buy and Funding for Lending schemes. In line with this, new instructions to sell also rose, with 23 percent more chartered surveyors reporting supply of property to the South East’s market rose rather than fell.

RICS South East residential spokesperson Robbin Goddard said: “In line with poor mortgage offerings across the board, the housing market has been somewhat dampened in the South East in recent years.

“This became most unsatisfactory by mid-to-late 2012, at a time when agents and buyers had liked had hoped the market would gain more traction.

“Indeed, it is quite telling of low consumer confidence that this affected the South East, a region where the housing market is known for its relative resilience. Somewhat contrary to popular belief, first time buyers were not the only victims of the mortgage squeeze.

“The impact on the supply chain obviously impacted home owners needing to move on and release equity. What’s more, other homeowners who would have perhaps ‘tested the market’ decided to stay put, these features combined created an element of stagnance that now seems to be dissipating.

“Market performance now hinges on the supply chain recovering. At which point, the outlook for the South East ought to remain positive, as it remains an area in high demand.”