South West house sales are up 50 per cent, compared to the same period last year, according to recent research.
The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) surveyed its members in the Westcountry and found that the number of homes sold per chartered surveyor in the South West reached 22 over the three months to January this year.
Although this figure is still a relatively low one compared to the days of the housing boom, it represents a sizeable increase on the same quarter the previous year, when respondents were selling a mere 16 properties each, says the RICS January Residential Market Survey.
Across the UK, the South West saw the biggest increase in activity in the whole country, followed by Yorkshire and Humberside where sales numbers jumped 40 percent.
However, despite the encouraging sales figures in the region, a shortage of homes coming onto the housing market is pushing house prices higher. During January, the research found that the number of houses coming up for sale in the South West hit its lowest point since November 2012. But despite vendor numbers not having seen any sustained increase for some months, some surveyors note that supply is expected to increase as the market enters the traditional “Spring bounce”.
The gap between a shortage of supply and rising demand means that prices continue to grow in every part of the UK, the report found. During January, 53% of estate agents surveyed across the country reported growing prices. The cost of a home in the UK has now been rising for just under a year.
Roger Punch, RICS Residential Spokesperson for the South West, said: “The recovery in the South West housing market continues, with the region seeing the biggest increase in activity in the UK. The trend does have localised limitations, however, consequent on the imbalance between supply and demand.
“But the South West market is the strongest it has been from some time and both sellers and buyers should take confidence from this.”
Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, commented: “It’s no secret that we are seeing prices go up in many parts of the country, driven largely by the lack of properties coming onto the market. With more people now in a position to buy a home than at any point over the past few years, there are simply not enough properties to satisfy demand. The upshot of this is increasing prices in many areas and this looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
“That said, some of our members are have told us that, as the daffodils come out, more vendors could be looking to test the market as the traditional spring bounce begins to take effect. This can only be good news for a market that has seen supply struggle for a long, long time.”