The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported just over 17 property sales on average during the first three months of the year, pushing housing sales to their highest level in three years.
Sales on the rise
According to the latest monthly survey by RICS, which conducts regular surveys of its members to gain a picture of the state of the housing market, this was the highest number reported since March 2010, and also indicated that sales rates have been rising for three consecutive months.
Demand for properties also improved over this period, and there is speculation that this could be due to the increasing affordability of mortgages. The Government’s recently-launched Help to Buy scheme offers to guarantee 15% of mortgage loans for people who want to buy but can’t afford more than 5% of their deposit.
The Government’s Funding for Lending scheme, launched last August to give banks access to cheap finance, has also been cited as a factor in this trend. Cheaper lending for banks seems to be filtering down in the form of cheaper mortgage rates for customers.
Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: ‘A buoyant, healthy property market is central to economic recovery. While these are still very much early signs, it is encouraging that sales are beginning to pick-up.’