Buyer demand gets a touch of Christmas spirit

Buyer demand in the South East rose at its fastest rate in a year during October, with purchasers across the region looking to test the pre-Christmas market, says the latest RICS housing market survey.

Until last month, interest from would-be buyers had remained relatively subdued for some time.

However, during October, South Eastern chartered surveyors reported an upturn in new buyer enquiries with a net balance of 12 percent more respondents reporting rises (from +6 percent). It appears that the growing optimism shown in recent months may slowly be translating into a slight increase in activity.

Alongside this, the amount of homes coming onto the region’s market held firm. Last month a flat two percent more respondents reported falls rather than rises in vendors placing their properties on the market.

With demand seeing an upturn in fortunes, prices across the South East also saw a boost with a net balance of 17 per cent more surveyors reporting rises. This represents the first positive reading for prices in the region since June 2010.

Regionally, all areas of the UK saw improvements in levels of demand with the exception of Northern Ireland and Scotland. Significantly, the North East and the West Midlands saw the most notable rises, with surveyors in those regions reporting net balance readings of +56 and +35 per cent respectively.

Looking ahead, South Eastern chartered surveyors are hopeful that the current upturn in interest should translate into a greater number of sales, as a net balance of 30 per cent more respondents predicted rises in transactions over the coming three months.

Robin Goddard, RICS South East housing spokesperson, said: “There appears to be a number of buyers interested in properties, especially at the upper end of the market although they do not necessarily have their own property on the market as the number of houses being offered for sale has remained static.

“However, many sellers are standing firm and often have the opportunity to consider different offers which might be made or even seeking informal tenders where demand is particularly high.

“The NewBuy scheme is increasing the range of mortgages available and recent press adverts from mortgage providers attest to the increase in funds which are currently available. The mortgage providers are nonetheless being careful with their money, especially with the level of deposit they are seeking particularly from first time buyers.”