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Buyer enquiries on the rise, says RICS

Enquiries from would be buyers rose in most of the UK in November although demand levels remain at historically low levels.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors housing market survey shows enquiries have grown steadily since the end of the summer but the amount of homes coming up for sale remained relatively flat last month.

A net balance of 11 per cent is recorded for enquiries since the end of the summer. The net balance is calculated by subtracting the number of surveyors reporting a fall in enquiries from the number reporting a rise.

In terms of the amount of homes coming to market in November, respondents brought back a net balance of 4 per cent.

Two thirds of respondents say prices have remained unchanged over the past three months, with London as the only part of the UK to see prices increase.

A net balance of 40 per cent was recorded for London. Northern Ireland and Wales experienced the most severe price falls, recording net balances of minus 49 and minus 36 respectively.

The average number of sales per surveyor edged up from 15.4 to 15.8, meaning that November’s reading is the highest since April 2012.

The ratio of sales to stocks on surveyors’ books fell from 23.3 per cent to 22.8 per cent.

RICS global residential director Peter Bolton King says: “There is certainly some optimism creeping back into the housing market, and it is encouraging to see an increase in potential buyers across parts of the country where the market has particularly suffered in recent years. That said, there is still a long way to go and the long standing barriers to home ownership are still very much a problem for the likes of first time buyers.

“The announcement in last week’s Autumn Statement of funding to unlock large sites for house building is a step in the right direction, and the Funding for Lending scheme is beginning to bear fruit for potential buyers. However, the macro economic picture continues to weigh heavy on the market and continues prevent any really significant boost in activity.”

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