'Desperate need' for homes on sale, says Rics

Estate agent window Estate agents say there is a shortage of homes on the market

House prices will continue to rise across the country until more homes are put on the market, an industry body has said.

The lack of homes for sale was a "major concern" and there was a "desperate need" for more, the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.

Buyer inquiries rose in every area of the UK except Wales in March, its latest survey found.

Various surveys suggest house prices are still below their peak.

Prices on the rise

The Rics report said that house prices "continue along their upward trajectory" as the economy recovers, with the survey recording an 11th month of house price rises.

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Many more surveyors expect prices to rise in the next three months and the next year, compared with the number of surveyors predicting price falls.

The survey suggested that prices would rise by 6% a year, on average, over the next five years.

"It is a major concern that we are not seeing enough houses coming on to the market," said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics.

"For the market to operate effectively, we desperately need more homes in areas where people want to buy and want to live.

"Until this happens, we are likely to see prices continue to increase and it is going to be ever harder for many first-time buyers to conceive of ever owning their own home."

First-time buyers

Many potential first-time buyers have found it easier to secure a mortgage owing to greater competition in the home loans market, but price rises - especially in the south-east of England - have made ownership unaffordable for some.

The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) found a slight dip in the average deposit that first-time buyers are having to come up with. The average deposit in February was 18% of a home's value, compared with 20% a year earlier.

Mortgage lending tends to dip in the early months of the year, ahead of the so-called "spring bounce" in house hunting. The total number of loans advanced in February stood at 48,400, the CML said, a figure almost unchanged on January.

This included 22,200 loans to first-time buyers, up 2.3% on the previous month, but up 41% on the low levels seen in February 2013.

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