The UK housing market remained buoyant in February, industry research showed on Thursday, despite rising interest rates and the growing cost of living crisis.
According the latest UK Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a net balance of 17% of respondents said they had seen an increase in new buyer enquiries in February, the sixth consecutive month of increases.
The number of agreed sales also rose, with a net balance of 9%, the strongest reading since May 2021.
House prices continued to rise over the month, with a net balance of 78% reporting an increase at the national level. Stock levels remained close to historic lows, however, which RICS said was a “major factor” in sustaining house price inflation.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: “Huge clouds of uncertainty hang over the economic prospects as energy prices continue to surge and the Bank of England grapples with how to manage monetary policy in this challenging environment.
“Despite all this, there is little evidence yet that the mood music regarding the expectations for house prices or rents is shifting. Indeed, the medium-term projections from respondents to the RICS survey are continuing to gain momentum.”
Looking to the next three months, respondents predicted that sales would increase, although at a more modest pace, with February’s net balance of 11% down on January’s reading of 20%. Sales were expected to remain on an upward trajectory over the coming year, however.
The BoE has increased interest rates twice since December, to 0.5%, as it looks to tackle soaring inflation, currently running at a 30-year high. Energy prices, meanwhile, will rise by 54% from next month, alongside a planned increases to national insurance contributions.