UK residential survey shows improvements in demand, expectations and prices

Buyer demand and sales expectations in the UK housing market are improving, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). 

Its latest UK residential survey painted a sunny in March, with a net score of +8% for new buyer enquiries in the month, the most positive result since February 2022.  


On the property supply front, the flow of new listings coming onto the market increased for a fourth successive month, with a net score of +13%. 

Meanwhile, a net balance of +13% predicted rising sales volumes in the next three months, compared to a reading of +6% previously. 

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, a net balance of +46% predict sales activity rising, up from +42% in February. 

The house price score has become less negative for the seventh month in a row, which has resulted in a rise from a net balance of -67% in September 2023 to -4% in March.  

This suggests a stable picture is now in place for house prices across the UK.   

Tarrant Parsons, senior economist at RICS, said: “With the inflation backdrop turning a little less difficult of late, this has led to expectations that the Bank of England will be able to start lowering interest rates later in the year.  

“This should continue to support the market to a certain degree going forward.   

“In keeping with this, near-term sales expectations point to an improving outlook, albeit the scope for an acceleration in activity will still be relatively limited given mortgage rates are set to remain much higher than in 2020/21.” 

RICS UK Residential Market Survey explained  

The RICS UK Residential Market Survey is a monthly sentiment survey of chartered surveyors who operate in the residential sales and lettings markets. 

Surveyors are asked 18 questions on a range of metrics such as sales, enquiries, listings and house prices and are asked whether these have increased, stayed the same or decreased.  

The ‘net balance’ refers to the proportion of respondents reporting a rise in a metric minus those reporting a fall.   

For example, if 30% reported an increase in buyer enquiries and 5% reported a fall, the net balance would be +25%.