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Friday 25th of June 2010
June 9, 2009    

Buyer interest rises as estate agent stocks fall

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by Gill Montia

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has reported that buyer interest increased in May, for the seventh consecutive month.

A poll of members revealed that the net balance of surveyors seeing a rise, rather than a fall, in buyer interest rose to its best level since August 1999.

The trend was most marked in London, the South East and Scotland.

However, new instructions to estate agents fell again in May, leaving stocks down more than one third on a year ago.

The figures also show the fifth consecutive monthly rise in the sales to stock ratio, suggesting that the “pricing environment is improving”.

The balance of surveyors reporting falling rather than rising prices narrowed again last month, although it remains “well in negative territory”.

According to the Rics, the May survey provides more evidence that activity in the housing market is recovering, “albeit from historic lows”.

Newly agreed sales remained “comfortably in positive territory” for the third consecutive month and the average number of unsold properties on surveyors’ books fell to 58.4, representing a 35% reduction on May 2008.

Last week, Halifax reported an encouraging 2.6% rise in UK house prices in May, compared to a month earlier.

The increase puts the annual rate of fall at 16.3% and the average cost of a home at £158,565.

The rise follows three successive monthly falls of between 1.8% and 2.3% and sits alongside the 1.2% month-on-month increase in the average value of a home reported by Nationwide for May.

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