Gap between housing market demand and supply is widest since 2013 – surveyors

The gap between the number of house hunters coming to market and the choice of properties for sale is at its widest since 2013, according to surveyors.

The mis-match between buyers and sellers is putting an upward pressure on house prices.

A net balance of 32% of property professionals noted an increase in new buyer inquiries during May, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

But the supply of homes fell further, with a net balance of 21% of surveyors reporting a fall in the number of new property listings.

The growing disparity between new buyer inquires and new instructions from sellers means the mis-match is at its widest since November 2013, Rics said.

Against this backdrop, the upward pressure on house prices intensified, with 83% of professionals noting an increase rather than a decrease, up from 76% the previous month.

All parts of the UK continue to display strong feedback regarding house price growth, with exceptionally sharp readings being posted in Northern Ireland, the South West and North West of England, and Wales, Rics said.

It also suggested that the pipeline of available properties could improve over the coming months, based on the level of market appraisals being undertaken.

Growth in property sales may soften a little in the coming three months once the stamp duty holiday is tapered from July to September.

But a balance of 64% of surveyors expect house prices to increase rather than fall in the next 12 months.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: “Ending a tax break always has the potential to be a little disruptive for a market but with the economy performing better than could have been expected even a short while ago and the cost of money still at rock bottom levels, the principal drivers supporting demand will remain in place even after the expiry of the stamp duty holiday.”