Housing market at three-year high
Chartered surveyors handled an average of 17.4 home sales over the last three months, according to the latest monthly survey by industry body the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
That was the highest number reported since March 2010 and meant sales rates have been rising for three consecutive months.
Surveyors also said demand improved, as a net balance of 11% reported rises in enquiries from new buyers, compared with those who reported a fall.
This marked the strongest reading since October, after a subdued start to the year. Researchers speculated this could be due to the improving affordability of mortgages.
Peter Bolton King, a director at RICS, said: “A buoyant, healthy property market is central to economic recovery and, while these are still very much early signs, it is encouraging that sales are beginning to pick up.
“The increase in potential buyers getting out there and viewing property is particularly encouraging.”
The government’s Funding for Lending scheme, launched last August to give banks access to cheap finance, has been cited by lenders as a factor pushing down on bank funding costs and helping to reduce interest rates for customers.
House prices were more sluggish than sales, according to the RICS survey, with respondents reporting that prices were roughly flat in March.
RICS said the survey pointed to house prices now having been relatively stable across the UK for the past six months.