Further rises in house prices are likely to be held back as more properties enter the open market

March 10, 2010

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) says new instructions outpaced inquiries from new buyers in February, this being the second month in a row that this had happened.
The rise in house prices during the past year has been attributed by many commentators to a shortage of stock for sale.
Despite the suggestion that the balance between buyers and sellers may be changing, Rics still found more surveyors reporting rising prices than falling prices last month.
The magnitude of the gains going forward is likely to continue to ease, reflecting the fact that new supply coming on to the market is starting to outstrip fresh demand.
Rics said it was the first time in two years that new sale instructions had outstripped inquiries from would-be buyers in a sustained manner.
The actual level of sales recorded by its members was still hampered last month by the knock-on effect of the cold weather.
As a result, the number of sales per Rics member remained at 1.4 per week.
In the course of 2009 prices rose by 5%, according to the surveys published by two of the major mortgage lenders, the Nationwide and the Halifax.
Both reported a dip in prices in February, which they blamed on the recent very cold weather and on a rush by buyers to push their purchases through before the restoration of the old stamp duty threshold in December.
Rics suggested that this would be just temporary.

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