Residential property transactions in the UK reached their highest level in three years, as would be buyers begin to take advantage of the continuing record low interest rates and the increased availability of residential mortgage loans, according to a survey of estate agents.
The monthly market survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that the increased availability of cheaper residential property mortgages and home loans has been boosted by the Bank of England’s (BoE) Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) and this in turn has led to a pickup in residential property transactions.
Surveyors reported that many agents have sold an average of 17.4 residential properties to new first time buyers in February – up from the previous average of just 16.8 in February 2013, but property transactions remain significantly below the unprecedented levels reached in the early-mid 2000s, at the height of the last UK property boom.
RICS Global Residential Director, Peter Bolton-King, said: “A buoyant, healthy property market is central to economic recovery and, while these are still very much early signs, it is encouraging that sales are beginning to pick-up. The increase in potential buyers getting out there and viewing property is particularly encouraging. Thanks to initiatives such as Funding for Lending, mortgages are becoming more accessible to buyers, which is gently easing the pressure on the market and freeing up stagnant chains.”
At a regional level, the RICS survey suggests that, on average, surveyors in the West Midlands have seen the biggest increase in residential properties sold since the start of the year, followed by those working in the London area.
By way of contrast, the sales trend appears flattest in East Anglia and the East Midlands.
Looking ahead, respondents to the RICS survey said they are optimistic that the recent increase in transactions is set to continue.
19% of RICS surveyors expect residential property sales to rise further over the coming three months.
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