Between February and March there was an 8% increase in the number of listings onto the sales market in the UK, those responding to RICS’ monthly survey have said. 

The number of homes coming to the market in the UK rose for the first time in a year in March, with 8% more respondents to RICS’ residential market survey reporting a rise than a fall. 

Houses for sale

Respondents to RICS survey also reported a continued rise in new buyer enquiries, with 9% more agents seeing growth in buyers than falls. RICS said this was the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic that “the survey metrics for supply and demand have been so closely in line”. 

However, the professional institute also warned that the average number of properties on estate agents’ book was still close to “historic lows”. 

It also pointed out house prices still continue to rise at a “firm pace”, with an extra 74% of respondents saying in March they saw a rise in house prices. 

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Despite mounting concerns about both the macro environment and the war in Ukraine, for now the feedback to the RICS survey shows the housing market remains resilient.

“It is encouraging that a little more stock appears to be returning to the market [but] this is still early days in that inventory remains not far off historic lows but if the trend continues, it could help to create a better balance between supply and demand.”

A lack of homes coming onto the market with strong buyer demand has driven high house prices recently. The RICS survey last month showed new buyer enquiries went up by 17% from January to February this year, going up for the sixth time in a row. Earlier this month the Halifax House Price Index showed house prices in the UK went up 1.4% from February to March this year, which the lender said was the biggest increase for six months. 

The growth in the number of agreed sales was unchanged from February, the RICS survey also revealed, with 9% more surveyors reporting an increase. 

But while supply seems like it might be increasing, the RICS survey also showed respondents believed property prices would continue to rise. There was an increase of 16% in March in the proportion who believed that they would see a rise in sales. Seventy-four said they had seen a rise in house prices between February and March with Northern ireland, Wales and the North of England seeing the steepest increase. 

Contributors to the survey expected house prices to increase around 4% per annum for the next five years. Although, a Savill’s analysis out this week expected the housing market would cool in the next couple of years and predicted this would contribute to the growth in residential land value slowing. 

RICs also predicted a strong upward trend in the need for rental properties, with 54% more respondents seeing a rise in demand for rental properties between February and March. Sixty-four per cent more in March anticipated rental growth than those in February. Contributors to the survey also thought rents would rise by 4% for the next 12 months and 5% on average a year when looking at the five-year projection.