Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments:
“An increase in new property listings is a step in the right direction, but after more than a year of falling supply will do little to quell rising house prices. A radical step change is needed to boost construction of new homes and even out the current imbalance between supply and demand. Such changes cannot be achieved overnight, so for now rising property prices seem inevitable.
“Demand is being further stoked by a rush of activity in the buy-to-let and second home market, as buyers rush to get in ahead of the April stamp duty surcharge. Given that stamp duty is paid upon completion, time is fast running out for those that are not yet well on the way to finalising a sale. New builds may seem a good option given there is no onward chain – but many of these are sold well in advance, and any delay in property construction could tip completion beyond the deadline.
“The market should settle into a more regular rhythm once the stamp duty deadline has been and gone. However, the RICS survey indicates house prices will have a notable upward momentum over the next twelve months. This is troubling for first-time buyers, although recent Government policies have helped to improve the number of affordable housing options.”