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Buyers returned to the UK’s housing market last month as it reopened after months of standstill during the coronavirus lockdown, however activity remained low, the latest research showed.

The latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that a net balance of 61 per cent of its members reported a rise in new buyer enquiries in June following a result of minus 94 per cent the previous month.

The number of new properties being listed for sale also jumped during the month, with a net balance of 42 per cent of Rics members reporting an increase rather than a decrease.

Despite the increase in supply, the average number of properties on estate agents’ books remained close to all-time lows, with just 39 on average per branch.

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The results of the survey were published the day after the chancellor announced a year-long stamp duty holiday, raising the payment threshold from £125,000 to £500,000, in a bid to boost activity in the market.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: “Key activity indicators in the Rics survey suggest that the market is enjoying a short term bounce following ending of the lockdown, with sharp spikes in the metrics tracking both buyer enquiries and new instructions.

“However, there are worrying signs that this rebound may quickly run out of steam against the backdrop of a tightening in lending criteria by mortgage providers, and the uncertain macro environment particularly with regard to the employment picture.

“Respondents to the survey highlight both of these issues in explaining the broadly flat picture regarding sales expectation beyond the immediate uplift.

“Meanwhile, the issues around the sales market appear to be shifting sentiment in the lettings market with, somewhat ominously given the prevailing economic climate, rent expectations beginning to edge upwards once again.”

By Jessica Clark

Source: City AM

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