Small rise in house sales gets year off to positive start
The housing market in the South West enjoyed a "positive start" to the New Year with a small rise in sales, according to a latest survey.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said members had reported selling an average of 16 homes in the three months to February, up one compared to the previous month.
It was also optimistic that the trend would continue with greater confidence that sales will continue to rise rather than fall over the coming three months.
Roger Punch, of estate agents Stags and RICS residential spokesman for the South West, said: "The picture looks promising for a stable year across the South West region, with reasonable expectations of properties selling, providing that pricing is accurate.
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"The overall prediction of 'flat' price levels is reassuring, as it will encourage activity from both buyers and sellers."
Demand for property, the RICS said, remains steady across the country. It said the increase in mortgages from the Government's Funding for Lending scheme "may be slowly encouraging would-be buyers to test the market".
While the number of homes coming onto the market was stable last month, with 3% more surveyors reporting rises in new instructions, the amount of properties available remain at historically low levels.
Jeffrey Cole, of North Cornwall estate agents Cole, Rayment and White, added: "Having just attended the regional Guild of Professional Estate Agents meeting at Exeter last week, the feeling amongst Westcountry agents seems to be generally one of cautious optimism.
"All agents reported a positive start to the New Year, particularly once the worst of the winter weather was over with and most were reporting transaction levels on a par or slightly better than this time last year."