Housing market shows signs of greater fluidityMore properties are coming onto the market

09 March 2010

terrace of houses

A new report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) highlights that there may be greater movement in the housing market going forward. Good news if you've been waiting to buy a property during the current recession.

The shortage of homes for sale began to ease during February as more properties were put on the market.

RICS said the number of people selling their home rose quicker than the number of potential new buyers entering the market for the second consecutive month during February.

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The previous mismatch between supply and demand has been seen as a key factor supporting the house price recovery. More properties on the market will mean that prices will not rise so sharply.

The group said both new instructions to sell and new buyer inquiries rebounded during February after being depressed in January due to the bad weather and the end of the Government's stamp duty holiday.

Overall, 7% more chartered surveyors reported a rise rather than a fall in new buyer inquiries, while 15% more saw an increase in new instructions to sell property, reversing a balance of 5% more who saw a fall in homes being put up for sale in January.

Prices stagnate again

A balance of 17% of surveyors also said they had seen house price increases during the month, although this was down from 31% more in January. The slowdown is in line with figures reported by Nationwide and Halifax for February, which both showed house price falls.

RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf said: 'Most market indicators are still positive and consistent with further house price increases. However, the magnitude of the gains going forward is likely to continue to ease reflecting the fact that new supply coming onto the market is starting to outstrip fresh demand.'

Going forward, more surveyors still expect house prices to rise than to fall, but the balance of 7% was at its lowest level since July last year, and well down on the previous month's figure of 21%.