Increase in house sales optimism

For sale signsOptimism among surveyors that house sales will rise in the coming months is at its highest levels in at least 14 years as confidence returns to the market.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said its findings for June point to the "beginning of a recovery," with the month also being the strongest for house price increases in more than three years as demand from would-be buyers strengthens.
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A balance of 45% more surveyors expect sales to increase rather than fall over the coming three months, marking a new high for the survey, which has been running since April 1999. Some 21% more surveyors reported prices rising rather than edging down in June, which is the strongest reading Rics has seen since January 2010.

They also have strong expectations that prices will climb higher in the next three months, with 23% more surveyors expecting an uplift.
Rics put the recent price hikes down to demand from potential buyers intensifying, in what it said is a "clear sign that market confidence is gradually being restored and that funding schemes are making a difference".

Demand from buyers has been increasing every month since January and is now showing its fastest rate of growth since August 2009, with a net balance of 38% more surveyors reporting an increase in new buyer enquiries.

Mortgage rates have been slashed and lenders have said their appetite to hand out more low-deposit deals to borrowers, many of whom may have struggled to find a mortgage in recent years, is returning.

Much of the confidence boost has been put down to Government initiatives such as its Funding for Lending scheme, which gives lenders access to cheap finance in order to help borrowers.

Other schemes such as NewBuy and Help to Buy have been specifically aimed at giving people with low deposits a helping hand. Lenders have been reporting more first-time buyers getting access to deals in recent months, which should help to free up some stuck housing chains.

Peter Bolton King, global residential director at Rics, said: "After what has seemed like a very long wait we are finally starting to see what looks like the beginning of a recovery in the housing market. It is important to remember that activity levels still remain depressed by historic standards but the various initiatives designed to encourage the provision of finance into the market do appear to be paying dividends."
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