Housing market to remain busy into new year, surveyors predict

Bustling housing market activity is expected to continue into the new year, according to surveyors.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said house hunter numbers increased for the fifth month in a row in October and sales look to remain buoyant for the remainder of 2020.

Its latest survey found a net balance of 46% of property professionals reported that new buyer inquiries increased rather than decreased in October.

The flow of fresh properties coming on the market also remained strong, with a balance of 32% of professionals reporting an increase in new instructions.

Average stock levels moved up from 42 properties per branch to 43 in October.

A balance of 41% of professionals saw sales increase rather than decrease during the month.

Rics said surveyors expect the latest upturn in sales to continue for the rest of the year, but the outlook for next year remains subdued amid the expected withdrawal of Government support measures and a difficult economic backdrop.

A temporary stamp duty holiday is due to end on March 31.

A net balance of 68% of survey contributors saw house prices increase in October.

Rics said prices are rising across all parts of the UK.

Wales, the West Midlands, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber all experienced exceptionally strong price growth in terms of the proportions of professionals reporting increases.

But professionals appear doubtful that this rate of house price inflation can be sustained for much longer, it added.

Looking 12 months ahead, surveyors expect house price growth to be much flatter.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist said: “The housing market remains very busy and despite the second national lockdown (in England), the sense is that this will persist over the coming months and into the new year.

“However, there is understandably more caution about activity looking beyond the first quarter of 2021.”

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