According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) residential market survey, 10 per cent of respondents reported a rise in new buyer enquiries, the eighth successive month where a positive reading has been recorded.
This was also slightly up on March’s reading of nine per cent.
RICS survey statistics are presented as scores between –100 and 100, with negative scores implying a decline, and positive readings suggesting an increase.
Although buyer demand has been sustained, there was a reading of minus one per cent for new property listings, showing a marginal fall during the month. Agreed sales were flat in April, with a reading of minus two per cent, in contrast to positive scores in March and February.
Low stock continues to blight estate agents
The lack of housing stock is expected to put further pressure on prices with 80 per cent of respondents forecasting surges in April, up from 74 per cent in March. This was also evident in member estate agent firms that reported an average of 38 available homes per branch, which RICS said was “extremely low”.
The survey also showed that the number of appraisals or valuations carried out had seen little change when compared to last year, which RICS said did not “bode well for the flow of supply” coming onto the secondhand market.
In the next three months, 12 per cent of respondents expect to see sales continue to rise, but they also predict that sales will likely drop later on in the year, with scores averaging out at minus four per cent looking forward.
RICS indicated that the projected drop in sales could be caused by the growing pressures of the cost of living crisis and increasing rates.
For the year ahead, 62 per cent of respondents expect house prices to rise, but this is down from a score of 78 per cent in February.
Tarrant Parsons, economist at RICS, said: “Despite growing macro headwinds in the form of cost-of-living pressures and higher interest rates, the UK residential market continues to see modestly positive trends in new buyer enquiries.
“For the time being at least, even though there is a lot of caution about the future economic landscape, it seems that limited supply available on the market, coupled with steady demand growth, are still the overriding drivers of house prices. As such, there is little evidence at this stage of house price inflation losing much momentum, while expectations for the coming 12 months have only moderated slightly from recent highs.”