News: Surveyors see spring housing market optimism

House prices have risen for the fifth consecutive month and more people are enquiring about purchases for a record-breaking tenth month in a row, according to RICS’ (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) UK housing market survey published today.

Prices are continuing to grow but at a slower rate with 13% more chartered surveyor estate agents reporting a rise in prices than a fall, compared to 16% last month. The industry is positive about a strong post-Easter rally, with price expectations at their highest since April 2004.

Agents’ confidence is partly based on the fact that buyers often commit to a purchase at this time of year and that the economic going remains generally good.

RICS spokesman, Ian Perry, said: "People traditionally put houses on the market in the new year and sales pick up around Easter. Agents are clearly expecting this year to be no exception and our figures are showing a lot of optimism in the industry."

Price rises are strongest in London, the South West and Scotland but remain weaker in the North and the Midlands where people are less certain over immediate employment. Unemployment has risen for almost every month for a year, particularly in these areas. Some people may be more inclined to sell while others remain unaffected by the softening employment picture and are still keen to buy.

"This split in the economy is one explanation for the unusual situation where both new buyer enquiries and instructions to sell are rising simultaneously," said Mr Perry.

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