Highest number of home buyers for four years
The number of buyers entering the housing market is at its highest level for four years, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The biggest increases in activity came in theWest Midlandsand the North East, which were among the areas worst affected by the market crash. However, every area of the country saw significant growth.
The RICS figures are based on buyer activity in July, when it says house prices rose across the country at their fastest rates since the market peak of November 2006.
Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, said: “These results are great news for the property market as it looks like at long last a recovery could be around the corner.
“Growth in buyer numbers and prices has been happening in some parts of the country since the beginning of the year but this is the first time that everywhere has experienced some improvement.
“It is clearly good news that those parts of the property market that were struggling are at last showing some signs of life.”
Looking ahead, RICS says it expects the upward trend to continue with both house sales and prices rising over the next three months.
Government schemes to help the housing market are one of the main reasons for the recovery.
The Help to Buy scheme, which came into effect in April, enables buyers who can afford a mortgage to get a new home with just a 5% deposit.
The Funding for Lending scheme, in which banks can borrow money at low rates from the Bank of England on condition that they lend it on to businesses or individuals, has also helped boost the market by making more mortgages available.
The recent Bank of England announcement that interest rates are likely to remain low for several years is also likely to increase consumer confidence about entering the housing market.