Estate agents across Britain have started to see the number of homes coming up for sale gradually increase for the first time in over two years.
In a monthly survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the overall balance of its members saw the supply of homes coming up for sale has turned positive.
While the flow of homes coming onto the market has slightly increased, the number of homes on estate agents’ books remains close to an all-time low at just 42.
Remaining cautious about the outlook for the housing market, Rics said it was ‘unlikely to gain impetus, at least in the near-term’.
Gradual rise: For the first time in 27 months, the overall balance of surveyors seeing the supply of homes coming up for sale has turned positive
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: ‘Although agents are suggesting that a little more supply may have come onto the market in May, some of it from the buy-to-let sector, inventory levels still remain near historic lows.
‘Indeed, with the run rate on appraisals continuing to track below the numbers of a year ago, it is premature to conclude that a sustained upturn in available stock is imminent.’
A net balance of 5 per cent of surveyors told RICS they saw the flow of properties coming onto market rise rather than fall in May.
Buyer enquiries fell last month, but the decline was modest compared to the start of the year.
The headline RICS price balance came in at -3 per cent in May, following a slight fall in April to -7 per cent.
In terms of house price growth, London continued to have the ‘most negative sentiment’, the survey said.
Momentum in the South East also slipped, with the RICS price balance for the region falling into negative territory for the second consecutive month.
In contrast, prices continued to rise in the Midlands, the North West, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland last month.
Prices: The headline RICS price balance came in at -3 per cent in May, RICS said
The number of agreed sales in the property market remained broadly flat last month, with the net balance of -2 per cent representing the strongest reading for fourteen months.
In the lettings market, demand has remained flat for the last five months, the survey said.
On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics revealed that average property prices increased by 3.9 per cent in the year to April, down from 4.2 per cent in the year to March.
The average house price was £227,000 in April, which is £9,000 higher than in April 2017 and £3,000 higher than in March this year.
Over the last year, prices in London only rose by 1 per cent. But, average prices in the capital remain high at £485,000.