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UK Agency Property Stock Reaches Three-Year High

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    UK Agency Stock Climbs to Highest Level Since February 2021

    The housing market seemingly continues to go from strength to strength in 2024, with the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors data revealing that estate agency stock is the highest since February 2021.

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      What Does Agency Stock & Activity Look Like in the UK Housing Market?

      The latest RICS Residential Market Survey for February revealed that estate agents now have an average of 42 properties on their books, the highest since February 2021. Respondents noticed more market appraisals this month compared to last year.

      According to RICS, 21% of respondents reported an increase in new instructions, marking the strongest reading since October 2020. This is a significant change from the consistently negative trend seen throughout 2023. This renewed activity may help buy-to-let investors feel more optimistic about the direction of the property market for the next 12 months.

      On a national level, new buyer enquiries remained positive for the second consecutive month, with a 6% increase. Most regions have seen a recovery in buyer interest over the past two months.

      Looking forward, sales expectations for the near future are optimistic, with 42% of respondents anticipating a rise in sales activity over the next year.

      While respondents expressed pessimism about house prices in the next three months, 36% of agents across England and Wales expect house prices to start growing again within the next 12 months, up from +18% in January. This correlates with Knight Frank’s recent prediction of a 3% price increase in 2024.

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      What Did RICS & Other Experts Say About Their Latest Survey?

      Chief RICS economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “The February RICS survey provides some grounds for encouragement around the sales market with not just buyer interest staying positive for the second successive month and the uplift in new instructions to agents.

      “Whether the increase in stock coming back to the market will be sustained is likely to be a critical factor in explaining how things play out over the balance of the year especially with new build likely to remain constrained. Significantly, the rise in the number of appraisals taking place points in the right direction. And the Government will be hoping that this trend is given a boost by the change to capital gains tax announced in the Budget.”

      Elsewhere, the head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, Tom Bill, said: “The economic data has fluctuated since Christmas, but the direction of travel for the housing market is up as mortgage rates ultimately head in the opposite direction.

      “Ironically, recent weakness in the jobs market is a positive sign for buyers and sellers as pressure on the Bank grows to cut rates sooner rather than later, leading to more mortgages starting with a 3. For anyone in the property market trying to time their decision, they would be well-advised to follow employment trends closely this year.”

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      Dale Barham

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