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Sellers try their luck in Spring housing market

Spring is traditionally a busier time of year, but respondents suggest that a stablisation in property prices has also tempted many back.

Demand also showed signs of steadying, with new buyer inquiries moving to a net balance of 0% and taking the series out of negative territory for the first time in 10 months. During April, respondents noted that the good weather led to increased numbers of viewings from potential buyers in some parts of the UK. Despite this, surveyors continue to report that a lack of mortgage finance is hindering many, with only the cash-rich able to really take advantage of the market.

Significantly, average sales per surveyor over the past three months rose to 15.2, the best level since December. Alongside this, newly agreed sales also edged up in April, as 8% more surveyors reported increases not falls in agreed sales, taking the series to its best level for a year.

The picture remains more downbeat for house prices, in part due to the continued imbalance between demand and supply.

Some 21% more surveyors reported prices fell rather than rose in April, but this is the best level since June last year. Similarly, surveyors’ expectations for prices over the next three months remain in negative territory, at a net balance of -18, also taking the series to June 2010 levels.

Looking ahead, 11% more surveyors predict sales to increase rather than decrease over the next three months.

RICS housing spokesperson, Michael Newey, said: "The return of sellers to the market is positive, but activity still remains subdued and it is difficult to see it picking up materially over the coming months.

"Although there are signs that some lenders may be reducing their grip on the purse strings, in particular with mortgages aimed at first time buyers, there is still a long way to go before lending levels increase enough to have any real impact. Economic uncertainty may also continue to weigh on sentiment for a while to come."

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