House prices rise at fastest rate since 2006
The housing market has "finally turned a corner", with buyers returning to the market in their biggest numbers for four years.
The latest market survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), shows that in July 2013 the number of potential buyers looking to enter the market grew at the fastest rate since July 2009, with 53% more chartered surveyors reporting an increase in demand.
The organisation said the market had been boosted by government finance initiatives – namely, George Osborne's Help To Buy scheme to kickstart the first-time buyer sector.
Crucially, RICS says its data shows that growth seen mainly in London and the south east in previous months has finally spread across the country. The West Midlands and the North East – areas which have suffered more than most since the market crash – experienced the biggest increases in buyer activity in July.
Consequentially, prices rose in the country for the fourth consecutive month and grew at their fastest rate since the market peak of November 2006, RICS added.
Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, said: "These results are great news of the property market as it looks like at long last a recovery could be around the corner. Growth in buyer numbers and prices have 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."
As well as rising buyer confidence, RICS said more potential sellers were dipping a toe in the water, with 15% more respondents reporting rises rather than falls in new instructions.
RICS said prices across the country "are going to continue to rise further", with 35% more surveyors predicting increases.
Ther RICS figures come on the back of strong house price rises, according to Halifax and Nationwide's house price indices. The Council of Mortgage Lenders yesterday announced that lending to first-time buyers has hit its highest quarterly total since 2007, with 68,200 purchasing their first home in the second quarter of 2013.