Pessimistic housing market showing signs of lifting.

The RICS February 2012 UK Housing Market Survey has reported that expectations for future house prices were more optimistic during February and transaction levels continued to edge upwards.

Key findings:

  • The net balance for future prices was 0% demonstrating quite a considerable turnaround from -14 in January. This means that the same number of surveyors were predicting rising prices as those predicating falling prices. This is the first time since May 2010 that surveyors have not predicted falling prices
  • The headline net price balance however continued to fall, albeit at a perceived slower rate than over the past 1.5 years. The net balance stood at -13%, meaning 13% more surveyors saw falling house prices as opposed to rising house prices.
  • Transaction levels did however continue to edge up with the average amount of sales per surveyor (by branch) moving up to 16, an increase of almost four percent on last month’s figure of 15.7.
  • Regionally, London was yet again the only area to see prices increase. West Midlands and Northern Ireland where the areas with the least positive readings.

Alan Collett, RICS housing spokesperson, commented:

“With the recent upturn in activity brought on by the end of the stamp duty holiday, it seems that a renewed sense of optimism may be slowly returning to the property market. Chartered surveyors’ price predictions were more optimistic in almost every area of the country in February.

“However, with affordable mortgage finance still out of reach for many potential first time buyers, it remains to be seen whether the more optimistic outlook for future sales can be sustained beyond the expiry of the stamp duty holiday.”

Alec Hanson

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