Increase in new buyer enquiries

7% more surveyors reported new buyer enquiries rose rather than fell during November, according to the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey.

This was the third consecutive such monthly increase for the series, the first time since the spring of 2010.

Newly agreed sales rose, with 14% more respondents reporting sales increased rather than decreased (from 9% more in October). Meanwhile, the average number of sales per surveyor (per branch) climbed to 15.4 in the three months to November. This is the best level since September 2010, RICS explained.

Surveyors were asked about the factors which they felt were holding back activity in the housing market. Most cited was uncertainty in the economy and this reason was given by 89% of respondents (compared to 79% three months ago). Availability of mortgage finance came in at 70%, while fear of house price falls remained steady at 42%.

The house price balance continues to be negative, with 17% more chartered surveyors reporting price declines rather increases in November – although this is an improvement from October’s reading of -24%.

Almost three-fifths of surveyors indicated that prices had not changed over the month and of those reporting a fall the vast majority indicated that it had been in the 0 to 2% range.

Price expectations remain barely changed at -21% while the net balance for sales expectations is still in positive, albeit low, territory at + 5%.

Alan Collett, RICS housing spokesperson, said: “It is encouraging that buyer interest has edged upwards in the face of the endless diet of negative news from Europe and the turmoil in financial markets. However