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Survey reveals strong housing demand

More evidence of a strong housing recovery has emerged, as the number of houses sold per chartered surveyor is now the highest in almost six years.The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reports the average number of transactions per surveyor reached 21.3 over the festive period. In January 2009, at the downturn's lowest point, the figure was 9.8.A slowing in the growth of demand for rented accommodation has occurred as conditions become more favourable for people looking to own a property. Increased confidence is a major factor behind the upturn.Supply problems persist, however, as considerably fewer properties are coming onto the market than are needed to meet the rising demand. A consequent rise in house prices has been recorded.A net balance of 56 per cent more chartered surveyors reported growing prices during December 2013. Although London and the south-east experienced the biggest surge in prices, rises also occurred in every other region of the country.Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, commented: "Growing availability of affordable mortgages has released some pent-up demand from a market that, in recent years, has seen many viable buyers unable to enter the market." He urged caution regarding house prices, however, adding: "Unless we see a marked increase in the number of homes coming up for sale we could well be looking at a price rises becoming unsustainable in some areas."There is considerable optimism among surveyors for 2014, with respondents predicting rises in sales and price numbers throughout the year due to easing credit conditions, resulting in higher loan to value mortgages, and the ongoing imbalance between supply and demand.Strong sales figures have been reported by developers Taylor Wimpey and Barratt over the past week, with significant increases in average selling prices and numbers of completions.A report by the Construction Products Association predicted strong output growth during the next two years but said the long-term market prospects remain uncertain.  

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