The Covid-enforced lockdown in the spring of 2020 had a major impact on the UK housing market, with viewings, sales and other activities experiencing a severe slowdown.
Since the sector began its steady reopening in May, however, there have been many indications of a healthy recovery in property. The latest signs of the resurgence came from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), whose UK Residential Survey showed that buyer enquiries, agreed sales and new listings all stayed strong in September.
Positive property trends
A net balance of +52% of survey participants reported an increase in new buyer enquiries during the month, marking the fourth consecutive increase in demand.
Transaction activity has also been improving steadily, with a net balance of +55% of respondents noting an increase in agreed sales.
Investors prioritising capital growth will welcome a trend of rising property values, with a net balance of +61% (up from +44% in the previous survey) highlighting an increase in prices. This trend was noted across all parts of the UK, but London is witnessing more modest growth than other regions.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The latest RICS survey provides further evidence of the buoyancy of the housing market, with more buyers and sellers helping to boost activity across the country.”
Looking to the future, Mr Rubinsohn said the possibility of job losses in the coming months and the scaling back of government policy initiatives in early 2021 could impact transaction levels.
Encouraging trends in the rental market saw tenant demand increase for the fourth month in a row in September.
London was the only part of the UK to see a negative trend in tenant demand, suggesting buy-to-let investors seeking strong demand in the private rented sector could benefit from looking beyond the capital to the regions.
RICS’ national three-month rental expectations indicator showed a positive reading of +19%.