Rics: ‘Worst is over’ for the housing market

The number of housing transactions have now increased for consecutive months, with a net balance of 15 per cent more chartered surveyors stating that the number of newly agreed sales rose in January, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors data.

In tandem with this, Rics’ report showed prices remained broadly stable during the first month of the year.

Around 4 per cent more respondents stated that prices fell rather than rose last month, meaning that prices have remained fairly consistent from December. Along with other signs, this suggests that the very worst may be over for the market, Rics said.

Despite this, demand from would-be purchasers has dipped slightly since the start of the New Year, with a net balance of 9 per cent of surveyors suggesting that new buyer enquiries fell during January.

This was also accompanied by a slight fall in the number of homes coming up for sale, with surveyors suggesting that poor weather may have contributed to the softer figures.

Across the UK, prices remained in positive territory in London and south-east England, while also moving into positive territory in Wales for the first time since the early part of 2010.

Looking ahead, chartered surveyors are optimistic that the price stability seen in recent months will persist over the coming three months and, more significantly, they anticipate prices beginning to move a little higher as the year wears on.

Meanwhile, future transaction levels are expected to remain on an upward trajectory.

Peter Bolton King, global residential director at Rics, said: “Price falls across the UK have gradually stemmed in recent months and it is interesting to see that the amount of completed transactions are on the rise, as confidence returns to the marketplace.

“While it is still very early days to talk about a comprehensive market recovery, activity levels are still encouraging and there is some optimism out there that things could continue to improve.

“That said, in many parts of the UK – such as London and the south east – high house prices and the lofty deposits required by many lenders continue to prevent many first time buyers from getting a foot on the ladder, which is preventing any significant movement at the lower end of the market.”