The latest (March 2022) UK Residential Market Survey by RICS has revealed that housing market activity remains resilient in the face of macro headwinds, ‘for the time being’.
RICS says there was a moderate rise in housing market activity over the month, with respondents anticipating this picture will remain in place over the near-term. The report adds: ‘That said, notwithstanding the general resilience in the latest survey statistics, contributors do appear cautious about the potential impact of macro headwinds on the market, with concerns on issues such as the rising cost of living and higher interest rates highlighted in the comments submitted.’
At the national level, a net balance of +9% of respondents noted an increase in new buyer enquiries during March. Alongside this, respondents cited a rise in the volume of fresh listings coming onto the sales market for the first time since March 2021. However, despite there being some more encouraging signs on the supply front of late, resulting in a small rise in the average number of properties on estate agents’ books, the current level of inventory remains close to historic lows.
Meanwhile, agreed sales rose in March according to a net balance of +9% of contributors. This reading is unchanged from February and remains indicative of a steady upward trend in transaction numbers.
Further ahead, the 12 month expectations indicator now points to a broadly stable outlook for residential sales volumes at the national level. With respect to house prices, an aggregate net balance of +74% of respondents saw a continued increase in prices over the latest survey period. This is aligned with the previous month’s results and almost identical to the average seen for this indicator over the past 12 months (+75% net balance). When disaggregated, all parts of the UK continue to see a strong pace of house price growth, with Northern Ireland, Wales and the North of England seeing particularly sharp rates of house price inflation currently.