Rents and house prices expected to continue to grow

Increasing demand, together with the continued shortage of homes, means rents and house prices are still rising, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

A regular survey by RICS revealed an increase in tenant demand in the three months to February and an expectation that rents will rise over the coming year in the lettings market.

This is expected to occur across all parts of the UK, except London, where respondents predict they will remain the same.

Also according to the survey, it was a slow start to the year for house sales in January, but in February there were indications of house price inflation maintaining momentum.

Looking further ahead prices are predicted to climb over the coming year, as surveyors anticipated a rise, with the whole UK expected to see an increase in prices.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, says: “The measures announced last week by the chancellor should help support the housing market over the coming months with concerns around a cliff edge end to the stamp duty break eased.

“However, a very clear message emanating from the latest survey is that more needs to be done to address the shortfall in supply with price and rent expectations very evidently continuing to accelerate.

“Planning reform, which the government is addressing, alongside supporting a sustainable and inclusive recovery in the economy are key elements in encouraging the private sector to increase the pipeline of new build.

“But it is clear that this is only part of the answer, particularly given the impact of low interest rates on demand. “It is critical that a holistic approach is taken to the housing market ensuring that policy is designed to deliver across tenures and indeed to improve the environmental quality of the existing stock through a retrofit programme