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Further recovery for residential sector expected in 2024, says RICS

The January 2024 RICS UK Residential Market Survey demonstrated further improvements in key metrics across the board. In particular, the outlook for sales volumes over the next 12 months improved, influenced by expectations of future interest rate cuts by the Bank of England. Nationally, new buyer enquiries were up 7% in January, up from -3% in December. This result is consistent with a gradual recovery for buyer demand, and while relatively modest, it is the strongest demand since February 2022. Further to this, agreed sales also saw a rise in sentiment, tilting positive from -5% previously to +5%. Even more encouragingly, respondents see sales picking up over the next three months, with +14% on balance stating that they believe rises are coming. Longer-term, the positivity increases with +44% believing that sales volumes will increase over the next 12 months. 

House prices at a national level returned a result of -18%, indicating continuing price falls overall. However, this result has strengthened for five successive months, and is the strongest reading since October 2022. London stands out as exhibiting a more stable trend for prices this month. Likewise, respondents based in Scotland and the North West of England cited a generally flat picture in recent months. 

RICS senior economist, Tarrant Parsons, said: “Although sales volumes through much of the year ahead are likely to remain relatively subdued compared to the longer-term average, the outlook has now turned modestly brighter on a consistent basis over the past few survey reports."

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