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House sales rise at their fastest rate

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House sales across the UK have risen at the fastest rate since May 2014, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS’) latest Residential Market Survey.

The increase in sales marks a 16-month high, and the fifth consecutive month that sales have increased.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “Although house prices are still rising, they are doing so at a far more moderate pace compared to last year, and more than two thirds of respondents to the RICS survey agree prices are at or below fair value. 

Combine this with record low mortgage rates and significantly improved product availability and it’s no surprise there has been a pick-up in housing activity.”

Despite the increase, Brian mentioned the difficulties the market faces, particularly a lack of homes: “The number of new property listings has now fallen for thirteen of the past fourteen months, with a lack of stock cited as the main deterrent for would-be movers.

“A healthy housing market has movement all the way up the property chain, and this trend threatens to cause a logjam that will make it harder for first-time buyers to become homeowners.

“The creation of new homes is a clear priority for both industry and government, and it is encouraging to see the Conservative Party pledging to do more to increase levels of homeownership at the party conference.

“However, the 200,000 starter homes pledged must be in addition to current housebuilding levels if it is to make any discernible difference. The government must also involve lenders in its discussions to create an effective long-term housebuilding strategy.”