RICS Residential Market Survey March 2021

The RICS Residential Market Survey March 2021 reports that sales activity picked up sharply over the month, with new enquiries, sales agreed, and new listings all improved noticeably over the previous month.  The survey respondents, Chartered Surveyors who operate in the residential sales and lettings markets, highlight ‘the extension of the Stamp Duty holiday as a significant driving force behind this renewed momentum, while a gradual loosening in lockdown restrictions is also said to be contributing to the rise in activity.’

A net balance of +42% respondents reported an increase in new buyer activity, alongside this, new instructions also improved although they say this growth was not enough to keep pace with demand.

However, estate agents were busy out doing more appraisals which should lead to more new properties on the market in the coming months.  Importantly, sales ‘rose firmly during March, evidenced by a net balance of +50% of contributors reporting an increase. This marks a sharp acceleration compared to last month (net balance +7%) and is in fact the strongest reading since August last year.’

The RICS report also says that prices were up according to +59% of respondents at the national level with the strongest momentum being in the North West, Yorkshire & the Humber, as well as Northern Ireland.  With the continued demand expected to exceed supply, such price rises look likely to continue.

RICS Residential Market Survey March 2021: ‘In the lettings market, tenant demand appears to be building a head of steam, as the latest net balance rose to +36% from +26% beforehand (non-seasonally adjusted monthly series).  Set against this, landlord instructions continue to fall according to a net balance of -25% of contributors. Consequently, near term rental growth expectations rose sharply, posting a net balance of +47% (+37% last month).

For the coming twelve months, respondents are now projecting rental growth to come in a little under 3% at the national level. On this measure, London is the only region where rents are not expected to rise over the year to come, with projections sitting in flat to marginally negative territory across the capital.’

Such reports of increased demand and confidence in the market is good news for property developers and we will continue to watch with interest the other housing reports due this month.

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