RICS survey: house prices up in March

| April 12, 2007 | 0 Comments
RICS survey: house prices up in March

In its latest survey, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says that house prices in the UK were up for the seventeenth month in a row in March, indicating that the housing market is still healthy despite recent interest rate hikes and that prices are not likely to decline in the near future. Many analysts had expected that inflation in house prices would be knocked down by the three interest rate rises issued by the Bank of England since last August, but that has not turned out to be the case.

According to the new data, 25.5 percent more Chartered Surveyors reported a rise rather than a decline in house prices. This was up from 24.8 percent in February and significantly above the long-term average of 21.6 percent. While new enquiries from those interested in buying a house were down for the fourth month in a row, the drop was less than it had been in February, with 8 percent of surveyors reporting a decline rather than a rise in new enquiries in March against 19 percent reporting that in February.

Inventories continue to fall, with the stock of unsold properties on surveyor’s books at their lowest level since June 2004. The average stock per surveyor was at 60.1 percent in March, down from an average 62.4 percent in February. That, along with a ratio of completed sales compared to stock on the market which stood at 47.8 percent in March, well above the long-term average of 37.1 percent, means that the market continues to be very tight. Still, new listings on the market were up for the first time in 9 months, with growth especially in the Northwest and East Midlands. It isn’t clear how much of that increase was due to sellers trying to avoid new sellers’ pack requirements that begin in June.

The strongest growth in house prices, according to the new figures, was in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Price growth was also up significantly in the North West. The rise in prices slowed, however, in the North and in East Anglia.

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