UK House Market News:- New buyer interest stabilised in May with predictions of house prices rising within the next 12 months, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’  residential market survey.

Respondents’  said they expected sales to improve within the next year, despite predicting a decline in activity over the next three months.

There was a positive net balance of 22 per cent forecasting a rise in house prices in all parts of the UK except London and the South East. Scotland, the North West and the West Midlands returned the strongest expectations for house price growth over the next 12 months.

RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn,  said some comfort could be drawn from May’s survey suggesting the market was steadying.

“However much of the anecdotal insight provided is still quite cautious, reflecting concerns about both the underlying political and economic climate.

“Another significant point made by respondents is that there continues to be considerable emphasis on the need for realistic pricing on the part of vendors, which while not a new story, is indicative of the ongoing challenges.”

Nationally, new buyer enquiries were virtually unchanged compared to April – the first time since July last year not to cite a decline in buyer demand.

But agreed sales continued to slip for the 10th successive month, with a negative net balance of 13 per cent, although the least negative reading since December.

Sales volumes in the North look bright

Wales and the north of England showed an increase in transaction volumes, although the trend was flat elsewhere and negative in both the South East and London. Survey contributors expected strongest sales in the North West followed by the North East.

RICS said lack of supply was still an issue with stock on agents’ books hitting a new low in May. New instructions for sale saw the least negative net balance since September, but feedback on current appraisals showed supply was unlikely to pick-up.

UK House Market – HZA

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said a potential recovery in the number of new buyers was a positive sign. The current shortage of new instructions for sale showed developers were still well placed to gain construction loans and property development finance.

The May survey covered 742 surveyor branches with 396 responses. The percentage balance reflects the proportion of respondents who predict either a rise or fall in sales or house prices.

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