House sales in the North West fell in March, as the number of properties coming onto the market also decreased for the ninth consecutive month, pushing prices upwards, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) UK Residential Market Survey.
The supply versus demand imbalance led to 37 percent more surveyors in the North West reporting a rise in house prices in March (up from 19 percent in February) with 28 percent more surveyors in the region expecting prices to increase over the next three months (compared with 21 percent back in February).
Nationally, Northern Ireland continues to outperform the rest of the UK with the strongest house price growth in March and the highest price expectations over the next three months.
However, across much of the rest of the UK, particularly in Wales and Scotland, price gains over the next three months are expected to be much more moderate.
Across the whole of the UK, the average surveyor sold 19.5 properties – reflecting activity since autumn- although it remains some way down on where it was in the early part of 2014.
RICS North West residential spokesman, John Halman of Gascoigne Halman estate agents, said: “Spring is a great time of year to capitalise on increasingly favourable market conditions. Some homeowners may be tempted to hold back from putting their property up for sale until after the general election but, historically, such tactics can often backfire with a glut of property coming onto the market.
“In election year it is often the early entrants who look back with greater satisfaction in the second half of the year.”
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, added: “The boost that was given to the housing market by the Help to Buy scheme has begun to dissipate and activity levels have slipped back. Even more worrying are the tentative signs that price momentum could be set to pick-up once again as the supply of stock to the market continues to fall.”