The UK’s housing market is going from strength to strength, according to the latest figures, with property prices rising at their fastest pace last month since June 2010.
The figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed that seasonally adjusted house price balance came in at +5, beating a forecast of +4 in a Reuters poll, and coming in at significantly above the balance of +1 recorded in April.
RICS argued that while the housing market had remained muted over the last three years, because of slow wage growth and austerity measures, factors such as the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme have improved the flow of credit into the market.
New buyer levels also hit pre-crisis levels last month, with this increase partly attributed to the government’s low-deposit housing scheme, Help to Buy.
Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, argued that the housing market is beginning to stabilise.
“More people decided to get out there and view property, and more transactions went through than in quite some time,” he said.
“There is still a very long way to go until we see a full-scale recovery but green shoots are beginning to sprout.”
Recent figures from Nationwide also revealed positive figures for house price growth in May, outlining that property prices had lifted by 0.4% last month.
The positive figures from Nationwide are also supported by recent data which showed that property transactions in the first four months of the year were around 5% above the monthly average recorded in 2012.
The first quarter of 2013 also saw an improvement in the number of mortgage approvals for would-be buyers, which surpasses the monthly average recorded in 2012 by around 4%.
“A number of factors are likely to be contributing to the pickup in activity,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist.
“There has been an improvement in the availability and a reduction in the cost of credit, partly as a result of policy measures, such as the Funding for Lending Scheme. Indeed, mortgage rates have fallen back towards all time lows in recent months.”