House prices climbed to a four-year high in August as buyers sought open spaces and took advantage of the stamp duty holiday, a survey of estate agents has found.
The RICS UK Residential Survey revealed that 44 per cent of estate agents saw a rise in house prices last month, the strongest reading recorded since 2016 and up from 13 per cent in July. Furthermore, 63 per cent reported an increase in buyer interest over the month.
Over four-fifths (83 per cent) forecast demand rising for homes with gardens over the next two years and 79 per cent expect increasing demand for those properties near green space.
“We’ve had probably four years of historically low transaction volumes and that means there’s significant pent-up demand for people to move, and I think people who have wanted to move or were thinking of moving are now doing so, taking advantage of the stamp duty break,” said Mike Bristow, chief executive of peer-to-peer property lender CrowdProperty.
“I think people have spent a lot of time during lockdown thinking about what they want in a house and there are many factors and we’re definitely seeing with evidence in the market, people are looking for outside spaces and different locations and sizes.
“Companies being flexible in their working arrangements going forward allows people to seek residential homes in different areas with more open spaces.
“I think it’s easy to assume that it will be a long-term shift, but I don’t necessarily think it will be.”
“The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market which should help support the wider economy gain traction over the coming months,” said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.
“More of a concern is the pick-up in prices which could intensify issues around affordability in some parts of the country. Disaggregated data shows demand generally to run ahead of supply.
“Meanwhile the results provide a further pointer to more substantive changes taking place in household behaviour in the wake of the pandemic.
“Increased demand for properties with garden and near green spaces has if anything increased since we tested the water in May.”