Government must do more to address housing supply urges the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

13th August 2015


The government is failing to “address the real issue of supply” in the housing market according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The group’s latest UK Residential Market Survey concluded that house prices are continuing to be squeezed higher by growing demand and tightening supply.

The report showed that while 44% more chartered surveyors saw prices rise in July, supply to the market continued to fall with 22% more surveyors reporting a drop in new instructions.

It highlighted that the shortage of housing inventory worsened further over the month, with the average number of properties for sale per surveyor slipping to a record low.

As a result RICS now anticipates that all areas of the UK will see sizeable house price gains over the next twelve months, with confidence most elevated in East Anglia and Northern Ireland.

RICS added that the near term expectations for prices also continue to reflect the imbalance between demand and supply with 41% of members expecting prices to continue to rise over the next three months. However, rising prices have not dampened interest as new buyer enquiries rose for the fourth month in succession, with 25% of respondents reporting a rise in demand.

Despite this steady and sustained improvement in demand, newly agreed sales were more or less unchanged at the national level in July. Going forward, there is a little more optimism regarding the prospects for activity with 37% more respondents expecting sales to gain momentum over the next three months and 40% more taking the same view on a one-year perspective.

Jeremy Blackburn, RICS head of policy: “This government has put home ownership at the very heart of its agenda, with Starter Homes and extending Right to Buy the strongest evidence of that ambition.  However, this continues to be demand driven and fails to address the real issue of supply.

“A coherent and coordinated house building strategy is required across all tenures. This should include measures that will kick-start the supply-side, such as mapping brownfield, addressing planning restrictions and creating a housing observatory to assess the underlying economic and social drivers of housing and provide the impetus for solutions.”

Elsewhere in the lettings market, tenant demand continued to rise while landlord instructions, despite increasing slightly, failed to keep pace once more said RICS. Consequently, 34 % of respondents expect rents to increase right across the UK with members in the West Midlands and the South East, projecting the sharpest growth over the next twelve months.

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