UK home sales highest for six years, says Rics
The number of UK homes sold per surveyor has more than doubled since the depth of the housing market downturn, a survey suggests.
Just over 21 sales per estate agency branch were recorded in the final three months of 2013, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.
This was the highest number since March 2008, and up from 9.8 in January 2009.
The survey found surveyors expected prices and sales to keep rising.Supply shortage
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Rising prices - which have been a feature of recent months - have mainly been the result of more buyers chasing the relatively few homes on the market.
"Unless we see a marked increase in the number of homes coming up for sale we could well be looking at a price rises becoming unsustainable in some areas," said Peter Bolton King, global residential director at Rics.
Yet housebuilder Bovis Homes said in a statement on Thursday that the number of new homes being completed was rising, and there had been a big rise in the number of forward sales.
The statement came ahead of its full-year results, which it said would show a "significant increase in profit before tax for 2013".
Its average sale price was up 14% to £195,100, because it had built more homes in the south of England and more larger properties, it said.Predictions
A number of commentators have predicted average price rises of between 4% and 8% in the UK in 2014.
The latest house price survey from the Office for National Statistics showed that year-on-year property price growth stood at 5.4% in the UK in November.
Excluding London and the south east of England, the ONS said prices were up by 3.1%.
The Bank of England has recently pulled back from offering cheaper funds for lenders to hand on in mortgages through the Funding for Lending scheme.