Demand still outstripping supply: RICS

The small increase in the number of properties coming up for sale is having little effect on the housing market, as prices continue to rise, according to the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey.

For the sixth consecutive month, more Chartered Surveyors are reporting that the number of new instructions is increasing rather than falling. However, demand is still outstripping supply with 28% more surveyors stating that enquiries from potential purchasers are rising rather than falling. This figure is slightly down on previous months, but still indicates strong interest from buyers.

The supply demand imbalance has been the main factor influencing prices and for the fourth month in a row the majority of surveyors are again reporting rising rather than falling prices. A net balance of 35% of Chartered Surveyors agreed that prices were rising, up from 34% in October.

Transaction levels remained broadly constant with sales per surveying firm hovering around 19 over the past three months. But with the inventory of property on the market falling, the closely watched sales to stock ratio – a measure of market slack and a lead indicator of future prices – has climbed a little further. It has now risen for the past 12 months and stands at 31%.

Although the latest survey provides further evidence that key indicators continue to improve, the pace of these improvements does appear to be slowing. In particular, the number of respondents feeling positive about the outlook for prices dropped slightly. 28% of Chartered Surveyors believe that prices will continue to rise rather than fall over the next three months this is slightly down form 31% the previous month.

London and the South east continue to be the most buoyant regions with buyer enquiries remaining strong against subdued levels of instructions and as such, prices are rising most rapidly.

an Perry, RICS spokesperson said: “For the fourth month in a row