UK housing market recovered further in January: RICS

February 8, 2024 2:24 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Britain’s housing market recovered further in January with new buyer enquiries at their strongest in almost two years, a closely watched measure of the property market showed on Thursday.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Survey’s (RICS) gauge of new buyer enquiries, showing the difference between chartered surveyors reporting rises and falls, increased to +7% from -3% in December – the strongest reading since February 2022.

Its measure of house prices, while still negative, rose to its highest since October 2022 at -18% from -29% in December.

Article continues after advertisement

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of -25%.

The report adds to signs of strengthening momentum in Britain’s housing market after high inflation and rising interest rates crimped demand in 2023. On Wednesday mortgage lender Halifax reported a surge in house prices in January.

Expectations that the Bank of England will cut interest rates this year are boosting sentiment among building firms.

Homebuilder Barratt (BDEV.L), opens new tab on Wednesday announced it will buy its smaller rival Redrow (RDW.L), opens new tab and said underlying demand for new homes remained strong.

Respondents to the RICS survey increasingly expected a new buyer enquiries to strengthen further in the coming months.

Britain’s housing market – like those in many Western countries – boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, boosted by record-low interest rates, temporary tax breaks and greater demand for living space as people worked from home.

Official figures for November showed British house prices 2% below their September 2022 peak but still 24% higher than before the pandemic.