There was no significant drop in activity in the UK's residential property market during August, despite the Olympic Games taking centre stage. This is the finding of the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) UK Housing Market Survey, which revealed that, although the number of viewings fell slightly, the proportion of sales completed remained relatively stable.
Rics also discovered the volume of new properties being put up for sale has stayed reasonably constant so far in 2012. According to the members questioned by the organisation, transactions are going forward "where vendors are realistic with their asking prices". It also appears chartered surveyors are positive about the future, with 12 per cent more respondents in August expecting sales volumes to pick up in the autumn than in July. Despite anticipating a higher level of activity on the country's housing market, prices of residential property are still predicted to fall before the end of this year, though.
Research published recently by Paragon Mortgages found real estate investors in the UK are diversifying their portfolios by purchasing a wider variety of properties. The firm noted semi-detached and detached houses are growing in popularity, with 30 per cent and 21 per cent of investors surveyed respectively stating they intend to pick up this type of asset before the start of 2013. Flats and terraced houses remain the favoured option, however, with 58 per cent of the people questioned citing these as the kinds of properties they plan to purchase in the coming three months.
Managing director at the mortgage firm John Heron said this shift in demand within the private rented sector (PRS) is encouraging. "This responsiveness of the PRS to changes in the shape of housing demand is one of the major strengths of the sector and it would be good to see policymakers work with private landlords to make more of this capability," he asserted.