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Housing Market Springs Forward: Buyer Demand and Government Inquiry Signal Positive Shift

The latest findings from the RICS UK Residential Survey of March 2024 forecast an optimistic future for the UK’s housing market, highlighting sustained improvements in buyer demand and a positive shift in property availability. With the government launching an inquiry into the home buying and selling process, the market stands at the cusp of significant transformations aimed at enhancing consumer experiences.

A Positive Outlook on Buyer Interest and Supply
Survey results unveil a notable increase in buyer demand, with a net balance of +8% of respondents witnessing a surge in new buyer enquiries, marking the highest positivity since February 2022. Concurrently, the supply side enjoys a renaissance as new property listings ascend for the fourth consecutive month, evidenced by a +13% net balance of respondents acknowledging an uptick in new instructions. These trends not only indicate a buoyant market but also set the stage for a robust activity forecast in the forthcoming months, with sales volumes expected to rise significantly within the next year.

Stabilising House Prices Amid Rental Market Challenges
House price trends exhibit a diminishing negativity for the seventh successive month, transitioning from a -67% net balance to -4% in March 2024. This shift towards stability underscores a gradual recovery and a brighter outlook for the UK housing market. Meanwhile, the lettings market faces its own set of challenges, with tenant demand outpacing the available rental properties, prompting expectations of rental price hikes in the near future. Despite these pressures, the overall market sentiment remains hopeful, supported by predictions of increased sales activity and a more favorable inflation backdrop.

Government Initiative and Professional Insights Fuel Market Optimism
The UK government’s recent announcement of an inquiry into the home buying and selling process has been met with approval from industry professionals. Sam Rees, RICS Senior Public Affairs Officer, emphasised the importance of improving the consumer experience in the housing market, highlighting the role of RICS members in providing invaluable advice and expertise. Tarrant Parsons, Senior Economist at RICS, echoed this sentiment, noting the gradual recovery in buyer demand and the anticipated supportive measures from the Bank of England.

With an improving market outlook, enhanced buyer and seller engagement, and proactive governmental and professional interventions, the UK’s housing market is poised for a promising trajectory. As the sector navigates through its current complexities, the concerted efforts of stakeholders promise a more streamlined, accessible, and consumer-friendly future.