RICS UK Residential Market Survey, January 2014

A shortage of homes coming onto the nation's housing market is seriously hampering growth and pushing prices higher in many parts of the country, says the RICS January Residential Market Survey.

During January, the number of houses coming up for sale across the UK hit its lowest point since July 2012, despite the amount of potential buyers continuing to surge ahead in most areas. However, despite vendor numbers not having seen any sustained increase for some months, some surveyors note that supply is expected to increase as we enter the traditional 'spring bounce'.

However, last month, with the gap between listless supply and rising demand not seeing any considerable change, prices continued to grow in every part of the UK. During January, a net balance of 53 percent more respondents across the country reported growing prices (from +56 percent in December). The cost of a home in the UK has now been rising for just under a year.

Moving on to transactions, the number of homes sold per chartered surveyor reached 21.1* over the preceding three months. Although historically relatively low, this represents a sizable increase on the same time last year when respondents were selling a mere 16.

Across the UK, the biggest increases in activity have been seen in the South West and Yorkshire and Humberside where sales numbers jumped 50 percent and 40 percent respectively since January last year.

Looking ahead, the more positive outlook continues with a net balance of 32 percent more chartered surveyors predicting transaction numbers to increase over the coming three months, while expectations for future prices are also strongly positive.

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, commented:

“It's no secret that we are seeing prices go up in many parts of the country, driven largely by the lack of properties coming onto the market. With more people now in a position to buy a home than at any point over the past few years, there are simply not enough properties to satisfy demand. The upshot of this is increasing prices in many areas and this looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

“That said, some of our members are have told us that, as the daffodils come out, more vendors could be looking to test the market as the traditional spring bounce begins to take effect. This can only be good news for a market that has seen supply struggle for a long, long time.”

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