Average stock levels on estate agency books have remained “within a whisker” of the record lows set in February, surveyors claim.
The latest RICS Residential Market Survey for April shows there were an average of 42.2 properties per branch during April, close to the record low of just under 42 and raising questions of whether the market has gained any spring bounce.
New buyer enquiries were more or less unchanged during April, RICS said, arresting a sequence of four straight months in which they had declined fairly sharply. However, it has now been 13 consecutive months since the new buyer enquiries reading was last positive.
The balance of surveyors reporting a decline in sales was also almost flat following 12 months of consecutive declines up to March.
In some slightly more positive news, fewer RICS members reported a decline in instructions than in previous months, with 7% more reporting a fall in April compared with close to 20% saying activity had declined in March. This was the least negative reading since last September.
Looking ahead, just 8% more surveyors said they expect sales activity to increase rather than decrease over the next 12 months.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The housing market typically tends to see a pick-up in activity at around this time of the year and the feedback from respondents to the latest survey does seem to be capturing this tone.
“However, once this seasonal pattern has been allowed for the underlying trend in transactions still remains broadly flat.”