Ruth Mitchell

Positive outlook for North Eastern housing market

The North Eastern housing market looked more positive during January, with chartered surveyors reporting increased buyer demand and improved levels of supply, says the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey.

Ten per cent more surveyors in the North East reported demand for property rose rather than fell (from -16 in December), indicating purchasers may be beginning to feel more optimistic about the regional market.

New instructions, which indicate supply levels to the market, also saw a notable improvement in the North East with 7 per cent more surveyors reporting instructions rose rather than fell during the last month, a significant increase from December (-25 per cent).

In spite of this, newly agreed sales continued to drop but at a slightly lesser rate than in previous months. However, the persisting weakness in market activity was reflected in actual sales transactions, as average sales per surveyor (in the three months to January), remained low at just14.

Meanwhile, 29 per cent more surveyors reported house prices fell rather than rose in January. Although negative, this net price balance has now improved for the second month running.

All other regions in the UK also recorded negative net price balances, with the East Midlands (-59) and Yorkshire and Humberside (-46) registering the weakest numbers.

Looking ahead, surveyors in the North East remain cautiously optimistic about future prospects, with the sales expectations net balance remaining at +3 for the second month in a row.

Richard Sayer, a spokes person on the housing market for RICS North East and partner at estate agency Rook Matthews Sayer, said: “There is no doubt that the market was extremely depressed in 2010 and many of us were wondering what the New Year would bring.

“Our viewing figures are 150 per cent up on the same time last year and the number of enquiries from people about putting their homes on the market is up almost 100 per cent.”

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