In April, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors issued its latest RICS Residential Market Survey, pointing to a “modestly positive trend in new buyer demand” running concurrently with stable sales, flatlining listings and low stock.
All of this, the report claims, indicates that house prices continue to rise amid the strong demand.
The Residential Market Survey is issued monthly, drawing on input from RICS professionals across the UK. In a nutshell, the report is a sentiment survey of Chartered Surveyors operating in the residential sales and lettings markets.
It is extensively covered in the national press, serving as a crucial document for understanding house prices and market trends. Goldman Sachs calls the report the best short-term lead indicator of house prices and activity.
Amid the cost of living crisis and upheaval across the property and built environment industries, the RICS Residential Market Survey remains a definitive account of practicing property professionals, contextualising market trends. The latest report is no different, with the snapshots put forth by RICS members painting a mixed picture of the property landscape.
Demand growth remains modest
“At the aggregate level, a net balance of +10% of survey participants reported an increase in new buyer enquiries during April, similar to a balance of +9% returned previously,” states the report. “As such, this marks the eighth successive month in which a positive reading has been returned for the survey’s measure of buyer interest, albeit the profile of demand growth has been relatively modest throughout much of this stretch.”
When it comes to agreed sales, the net balance of -2% is suggested in the report as an indication of a relatively steady April, after a marginal uptick in sales over February and March. In the near term, sales expectations remain “modestly positive”, with +12% of RICS survey responders anticipating a rise in transaction volumes over the next three months.
New instructions are stagnating
New instructions looked a little different in April compared to the March report. In the latest report, RICS said: “During April, new instructions to sell were largely stagnant, evidenced by a net balance reading of -1% being posted. This indicator saw its first positive reading in twelve months in the previous iteration of the survey, but the latest feedback suggests this upward trend was not sustained for long. Consequently, average stock levels on estate agents’ books remain very low by historical standards.
“Meanwhile, the number of appraisals undertaken over the month was reported to have seen little change compared with the same period twelve months ago, which does not seem to bode especially well for the flow of supply coming onto second-hand market going forward.”
So, amid the tight supply and slim demand growth, house prices are continuing to climb upward throughout the country. +80% of RICS Residential Market Survey respondents stated that they had noticed an increase in house prices, up from +74% in the previous iteration of the report.
On this point, evidence is scant as to the easing of house price growth. No matter which market you look at, house price inflation is continuing, especially in Northern Ireland and Wales.
What does this mean for surveyors?
As a long-standing RICS Tech Partner, Property Inspect looks closely at each UK Residential Market Survey so we can better respond to our clients and the changing landscape. One of our core goals has always been to speed up the processes of property professionals, helping them work as efficiently as can be.
Although RICS do not draw conclusions for specific property-related professions, the data collected points to a relatively predictable short-term. Although stock is low, demand continues to be high. This drives prices up, but brings with it a desire for homeowners to capitalise on a surge.
As demand continues to rise then, surveyors will be in demand for their expertise. As always, efficiency is key to turning work around consistently, accurately and in good time. Just as we suggested in our last market survey update, indicators still point towards an increase in workload.
With exceptionally high demand each time a property comes onto the market, there is plenty of evidence to show a real need for the efficiencies Property Inspect’s end-to-end inspection and operations software enables.
By giving our clients the software to digitally conduct RICS home surveys and reports, they attain the agility and streamlined workflows needed to respond to these market conditions with ease.
If you’d like to learn more, book a demo.