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Property sales close to four-year high

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More UK homes were sold in September than at any time since November 2009, according to RICS.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Residential Market Survey revealed that there were 18.7 properties sold per member surveyor last month.

While this number is still relatively low in historic terms, it is the highest figure since November 2009, and RICS claims this as evidence that the housing market recovery continues to gather pace.

Prices continued to grow in line with transactions, with 54% more surveyors reporting rises rather than falls in house prices. Prices have now been steadily increasing across the UK since Easter, with every region except the North East witnessing an increase in property values in September.

Enquiries from new buyers increased steadily in September, with 49% more surveyors reporting a rise in this area, a phenomenon that RICS attributed to Help to Buy.

The number of homes coming onto the market also rose in September, albeit not by enough to keep pace with the burgeoning level of demand.

Forecasts for the housing market are also optimistic, with a net balance of 56% more survey respondents saying they expect the number of transactions to increase further over the coming three months, while 48% more predict prices to continue their push upwards.

Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said:

“It’s encouraging that the market is starting to improve in all parts of the country with more buyers looking to make a move and more sales going through. Even so, it’s a big concern that the supply of property coming to the market is lagging so far behind demand. This imbalance is likely to result in further upward pressure in prices over the coming months, particularly in the nation’s hotspots.”

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of property finders, Garrington, said:

“It is good to note the figures for September published by the RICS which show an encouraging increase in the number of properties sold in the UK, now at a four year high. The market needs transaction levels to recover strongly.

“Any functioning market needs enough transactions to fuel that market and without fuel the market will stall. The numbers show that the stalling period appears to be far behind us and we are moving forward with over half of surveyors expecting the number of transactions to increase further over the coming three months.”

HomeOwners Alliance CEO Paula Higgins added:

“It’s great to hear reports that more and more people are realising their dreams of becoming homeowners. Although the numbers are climbing, they are still at an historic low and the government needs to incentivise builders, as well as buyers to get on to the market.”

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