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Pent up housing demand is ‘exhausting itself’, says RICS

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Pent up demand in the housing market is gradually 'exhausting itself', according to the chief economist of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The trade body said while house prices continued to rise across the UK in February, demand for residential property still far outstripped supply despite a slowdown in the growth of would-be homeowners.

The number of would-be buyers increased at the lowest rate in almost a year last month.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “The growth in buyer numbers that we’ve seen for some months started to slow down in February, as the surge in interest sparked towards the end of last summer began to level off.

“While this certainly doesn’t mean an end to the increasing activity we’ve been seeing recently, it does suggest that the pent up demand generated throughout the downturn is gradually exhausting itself.

“One other factor influencing behaviour over the past month may be the weather as rain, wind and, in particular, floods tend to mean fewer people are willing to actually get out there and view houses.”

RICS said problems with the lack of housing stock had started to spread beyond London and the South East.

“The ongoing issue that we are facing, however, is the lack of homes coming onto the market,” added Rubinsohn.

“Yes, it is true that more and more are being built, but supply is simply not enough properties to satisfy demand. As a result , prices are likely to continue to move higher making it ever harder for people to take an initial step foot onto the property ladder.”



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