House prices rise as appeal of gardens and space grows

Housing market activity in the region continued to rise in August, as those looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday continued their search for a new home.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents reported an increase in buyer interest across the West Midlands over the month, according to the August 2020 RICS UK Residential Survey.

However, the longer-term view remains more cautious.

As buyer enquiries continued to rise, the number of new properties listed for sale also increased, with a net balance of plus 26 per cent of survey participants noting an increase in vendors listing property to sell.

Consequently, strong growth in agreed sales was cited for a third successive month, with a net balance of plus 52 per cent of contributors seeing a pick-up.

Looking ahead, near term sales expectations for the West Midlands remain positive, but 12-month sales projections are still in negative territory, with the net balance coming in at minus 12 per cent.

Anecdotal evidence suggests concerns over the broader economic climate continue to drive this subdued assessment.

Meanwhile, the pandemic is expected to cause a lasting shift in the desirability of certain property characteristics, as eight per cent of respondents, nationally, anticipate demand increasing for homes with gardens over the next two years.

Seventy-nine per cent predict rising demand for those properties near green space, while a net balance of plus 68 per cent foresee a rise in the desirability of properties with more private/less communal outside space.

Turning to house prices, the August survey feedback points to a sharp acceleration in house price inflation.

Across the region, a net balance of plus 52 per cent of respondents reported an increase in prices, the strongest reading since September 2018.

This is up from a net balance of plus 49 per cent in July and marks a turnaround compared to the reading of minus 27 per cent registered back in May.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market which should help support the wider economy gain traction over the coming months.”

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