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Survey Reveals Positive Turn for UK Property Market in Early 2024

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    RICS Data Shows Improvement Across All Sales Market Activity Indicators

    The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) have just released their UK Residential Market Survey, and the findings give a positive picture of the property market for the beginning of 2024.

    The survey is a monthly report measuring positive and negative sentiment among chartered surveyors in the UK residential sales and lettings sectors. According to industry experts looking at various market activity indicators, this gives an idea of the outlook for the property market. It looks at both sales and lettings and includes a regional breakdown, making it a valuable survey for those involved in buy-to-let investing and those looking for the best places to invest in property.

    The January 2024 results show improvement across all sales metrics, with buyer demand, agreed sales, and new instructions advancing out of negative territory and into the positive.

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      Survey Results Suggest Recovery in Buyer Demand

      In regards to new buyer enquiries, respondents were net positive, showing a reading of +7%. This is up from -3% last month and is the most positive result since February 2022, implying a recovery in buyer demand.

      The agreed sales indicator also edged into positive territory, displaying a net balance of +5% compared to -5% previously. Respondents were also optimistic when asked about the future, as the three-month sales expectations balance posted a net balance of +14%, rising from +11% in December and +6% in November.

      Looking at the following year, there’s optimism regarding sales volumes over the next twelve months, likely due to the belief that interest rates will lower as the year progresses. A net balance of +44% of respondents forecast an improvement in sales, up from +34% last month.

      Read More: Is buy-to-let a good investment? Take a look at our comprehensive market reports and beginner investment guides for the latest analysis!

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      Professionals Optimistic for Future House Prices

      New instructions for sales are on the up, returning a positive reading of +11%. This is good news as the new supply of available property on the market has been constrained over the past few years, and this is the first positive reading since March 2021. Similarly, market appraisals undertaken during January were up on the previous year according to the +9% net balance. This metric has moved back into positive territory for the first time since early 2022.

      The readings relating to house prices reflect much of what we already know about the current market. While it remains subdued, professionals are more optimistic for the coming months and years.

      Regarding price growth, the posted net balance was -18 % for January. While negative, this has been improving for five consecutive surveys, implying that any dips in value are decelerating noticeably. Near-term price expectations are moving towards positive territory at -2 %, up from 12% last month.

      But the twelve-month view for price expectations is decidedly upbeat, with a net balance of +18%, suggesting a projected uplift in house prices over the next year.

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        Supply-Demand Imbalance in Rental Market Persists

        RICS results concerning the lettings market paint a similar picture to what we’ve seen throughout 2023, with the supply-demand imbalance expected to persist and continue pushing rental prices higher over the next few months.

        Participants noted an increase in tenant demand in the three months to January (+28%), but RICS states that this rise is the “most modest (in net balance terms) since January 2021”. But of course, this offers no respite regarding the ongoing undersupply issue, as there was a decline in the volume of new landlord instructions, and the net balance stayed at -18% for a second consecutive quarter.

        Learn More: Looking for the best way to invest? RWinvest’s updated insights detail the most popular methods of investing in property in 2024!

         

         

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          Promising Signs for North West Property Market

          At a regional level, many sales metrics are predominantly more optimistic in the North West. The region’s participants gave the highest net balance reading of all areas regarding new buyer enquiries in the past month. The North West’s price and sales expectations for the next three months were similarly positive. This ties in with the data from eXp that we recently reported on, showing that Liverpool estate agents are the busiest in the country. This is thanks to sellers being drawn back into the market and adding to the available stock of property to buy in Liverpool.

          In the lettings market, the North West was the only region to return a positive net balance for new landlord instructions over the past three months. This suggests the area is being targeted as a lucrative area for letting.

          In terms of surveyor comments from the North West region, the sales market in January was described as ‘encouraging’ and ‘a brisk start’. Lettings agents noted that while supply issues exist, tenant demand remains high, and the market is still buoyant.

          Further Reading: Learn more about the North West property market with some of our most recent buy-to-let area guides, covering topics such as Southport investment properties and buy-to-let property in Blackburn.

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          Author

          Jessica Ferris

          Jessica is a property content writer at RWinvest. Keeping a close eye on the UK property market, Jessica helps our readers stay informed and up to date on the latest market news and statistics.

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