The RICS monthly Residential Market Survey for April 2013 suggests that the Government’s Help to Buy scheme has had an instant and positive impact on the property market in the UK.
The survey measures various key factors that affect the UK housing market, based on figures gathered from estate agents who are also chartered surveyors. The survey measures the net balance of certain statistics in the property market: in other words, what is the difference between how many think it is rising versus falling. So, a net balance of 25 means that, out of 100 surveyed, 25 more think that things are going up than down.
The figures have to be handled with a little bit of caution since they don’t include all estate agents, only those registered with the RICS (so, not us, for example) and are based on the UK as a whole. Some of the stats are broken-down into regions, but even then Scotland is seen as one region, and we know that Edinburgh and the Lothians, for example, are considerably outperforming most other areas in Scotland.
Figures show that:
- new buyer enquiries are up for the seventh month in the space of the last eight;
- new instructions to agents from property sellers were up in April 2013;
- interest from buyers is increasing faster than instructions from sellers, according to those surveyed;
- surveyors are increasingly positive about the outlook for prices when looking 3 and 12 months ahead than in previous months.
Interestingly, when looking at the regional breakdown, surveyors in Scotland report a net positive balance in:
- new buyer enquiries;
- new vendor instructions;
- agreed sales; and
- expectations for levels of agreed sales in the next 3 months.
In other words, more surveyors are positive than are negative in what they are seeing happening in the market with regards to the number of buyers who are interested in buying, the number of sellers putting their properties on the market, the number of agreed sales, and the number of properties they expect to sell in the next three months. All this combined with new government-backed initiatives that are coming soon to assist buyers with funding to get onto the property ladder. And yet…more surveyors in Scotland expect prices to fall in the next few months than expect them to rise!
Frankly, to me, this doesn’t make a huge amount of sense, but then I’m not a surveyor so what on earth do I know…? All I know is that the overwhelming tone of the report is positive, that the statistics coming out of it are positive, and that most surveyors throughout the UK are positive. Edinburgh and Lothians certainly seem to be bucking the trends that have taken place in most of Scotland so I, for one, as the sun shines down where I’m sitting at the moment, am going to take the positive out of this report and try to steer clear of any chartered surveyors for the rest of the day in case they kill my mood!