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Sellers return to test the Spring housing market

Supply of property increased during April, as sellers returned to the test the Spring housing market, according to the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey.

Around 18% more chartered surveyors reported a rise rather than fall in new instructions, up from 4% more in March. Spring is traditionally a busier time of year, but respondents suggest that a stabilisation in property prices has also tempted many back.

Demand also showed signs of steadying, with new buyer enquiries moving to a net balance of 0% and taking the series out of negative territory for the first time in ten months. During April, respondents noted that the good weather led to increased numbers of viewings from potential buyers in some parts of the UK. Despite this, surveyors continue to report that a lack of mortgage finance is hindering many, with only the cash-rich able to really take advantage of the market. 

Significantly, average sales per surveyor over the past three months rose to 15.2, the best level since December. Alongside this, newly agreed sales also edged up in April, as 8% more surveyors reported increases not falls in agreed sales, taking the series to its best level for a year. 

The picture remains more downbeat for house prices, in part due to the continued imbalance between demand and supply. Around 21% more surveyors reported prices fell rather than rose in April, but this is the best level since June last year. Similarly, surveyors’ expectations for prices over the next three months remain in negative territory, at a net balance of -18, also taking the series to June 2010 levels.