RICS July 2013 UK Residential Market Survey

The UK housing market appears to have finally turned a corner as buyers returned to the market in their biggest numbers for four years, says the latest RICS Residential Market Survey (13 August 2013).

During July, the amount of potential buyers looking to enter the market grew at the fastest rate since July 2009, as a net balance of 53% more chartered surveyors reported increases in demand. Since the start of the year, buyers have gradually been returning to test the market – thanks in no small part to government finance initiatives – yet the amount of would-be buyers seen in July saw a sizable peak.

Significantly, this growth was seen in each and every part of the UK as the recovery, initially focused in the South East, spread to regions across the country. The West Midlands and the North East – areas which have suffered more than most since the market crash – experienced the biggest increases in buyer activity in July.

Consequentially, prices rose in the country for the fourth consecutive month and grew at their fastest rate since the market peak of November 2006. Notably, this was not only confined to more affluent parts of the country such as London, but every region saw growth as we enter the end of the summer period.

In tandem with rising buyer confidence, more potential sellers looked to test the market and place their homes up for sale. Last month, 15% more respondents reported rises rather than falls in new instructions. This reading has now been in positive territory for the last six months. However, in each of these months it has been outstripped by the change in new buyer enquires.

Looking ahead, it seems that prices across the country are going to continue to rise further, with a net balance of 35% more surveyors predicting increases. Meanwhile, transaction levels are also expected to grow, as 53% more respondents expect sales to rise rather than fall over the coming three months.

These results are great news for the property market as it looks like at long last a recovery could be around the corner. Growth in buyer numbers and prices have been happening in some parts of the country since the beginning of the year but this is the first time that everywhere has experienced some improvement. It is clearly good news that those parts of the property market that were struggling are at last showing some signs of life.

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director