At the national level, a headline net balance of +16% of respondents cited an increase in new buyer demand during January, according to the latest UK Residential Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
This is up from a reading of +9% in December and, although only modestly positive, represents the strongest figure since May 2021.
At the same time, the survey’s indicator capturing new instructions remained in negative territory, although, at -8%, the latest net balance is the least negative since April 2021.
Moreover, the net balance for market appraisals came in at +3%, the first time this series has been above zero since June 2021.
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Looking ahead, near-term sales expectations improved to a 10-month high, with the latest net balance rising to +22% from +16% in both of the two previous reports.
In terms of the 12-month outlook, a headline net balance of +24% of survey participants envisage sales volume rising over the year to come, an increase on a reading of +16% last time.
Looking at house prices, there seems to be no sign of the recent strong pace of growth losing much momentum, with a national net balance of +74% of survey participants seeing an in-crease during January.
As such, this measure has remained in a tight range of between +69% and +74% over each of the past six months.
Going forward, both three- and 12-month price expectations series remain firm, returning respective net balances of +36% and +76% (both of which are slightly stronger than the December 2021 returns).
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Furthermore, all UK regions/countries are anticipated to see a further pick-up in house prices over the year ahead.
In the rental market, tenant demand continues to rise sharply, evidenced by a net balance of +64% of contributors noting an increase.
In fact, this represents the strongest reading on record, with this particular indicator dating back to 1999. That said, landlord instructions remain very much in decline, net balance -13%, versus -29% last quarter.
Indeed, a net balance of +59% of respondents now foresee rents picking up over the coming three months, an increase on +54% taking this view beforehand.
Over the course of 2022, contributors envisage rental prices rising by around 4% on average across the UK.
By Jake Carter
Source: Mortgage Introducer
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