RICS predicts housing market uplift for final quarter of 2012

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says that the outlook for the UK property market is at its most positive for more than two years. However, even as the number of sales increases, it says that prices are likely to continue to fall in the coming months in every UK region except London.

The RICS report said: “A persisting theme of the housing market in recent months seems to be that transactions are going through where vendors are realistic in their price expectations.”

RICS reports that in September expectations amongst surveyors for future property sales had improved to show a net balance of 26 per cent more respondents predict that there will be more house sales in the final quarter of this year.

This is due to better mortgage rates and less reluctance on the part of banks and building societies to lend to borrowers.

RICS says that there is still a notable difference in the valuation on homes from sellers compared to the amount potential buyers are prepared to pay leading to a stand-off that is keeping house sales close to historical lows.

RICS says that it sees a stronger end to the year in part due to the easier availability of mortgage finance as a result of the introduction of the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).

A net balance of nine per cent of surveyors believe that prices will continue to fall over the next three months. Though this is still a negative balance, it is the best reading since the end of the stamp duty holiday in March.

Meanwhile, a net balance of 15 per cent more surveyors reported falls in house prices rather than increases. This is also the best reading since the spring.

Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: “The housing market was relatively flat during September but surveyors are optimistic that the run in to Christmas could see an increase in activity in many areas of the country. Prices are still dipping but at a much lower rate than seen in previous months.

“Despite this, problems still exist and more needs to be done to get the market moving. Unrealistic expectations on the part of vendors seem to be stalling the transaction process.
“Meanwhile, although the Funding for Lending scheme appears to be improving mortgage availability, those at the very bottom of the housing ladder are still struggling.”

RICS said that demand from potential property buyers was stable in most parts of the UK. It said that four per cent more surveyors report price increases rather than decreases in enquiries from new buyers.

RICS reports that the number of homes coming onto the market was fairly flat in September. Five per cent more surveyors reported a rise in homes coming onto the market than reported a fall.

It also said that the index for UK house prices rose to its highest level for six months, up to -15 points from -18. This beat expectations with most analysts expecting a slight drop to -20.