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Wales sees first rise in house sales for almost two years

Activity in the housing market in Wales picked up in December, with the number of newly agreed sales reported to have risen for the first time in almost two years, as the trend towards lowered mortgage rates continues, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey.

A net balance of 18% of Welsh respondents reported a rise in sales through the month of December, the first time this figure has been in positive territory since February 2022. The near-term outlook for sales also remains positive, with a net balance of 9% of respondents in Wales anticipating a rise in the first quarter of 2024. This is the second consecutive month this figure has been in positive territory.

Looking at prices, a net balance of -23% of respondents in Wales reported a fall over the past three months. Whilst still in negative territory, this is an improvement from -34% in November and -37% in October.

The outlook for prices also improved for the fourth month in succession, with a net balance of -9% of surveyors in Wales anticipating that prices will fall in the next three months. It is now the least negative this balance has been since August 2022.

Regarding supply, a net balance of 19% of Welsh respondents reported a rise in new instructions to sell in December, the fourth consecutive month this balance has been positive.

In the lettings market, the imbalance between demand and supply continued through December. A net balance of 50% of respondents in Wales reported a rise in tenant demand in the December survey. When looking at supply, the balance for landlord instructions fell flat. With this flat supply and rising demand dynamic, a net balance of 50% of respondents in Wales expect rents to increase in the three months ahead, in line with the UK average.

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Discussing the sales market, Anthony Filice, FRICS of Kelvin Francis Ltd., in Cardiff commented: “We have a good number of new instructions listing. Some vendors’ price expectations are still too high, as they are behind the curve on market conditions. But there are still confident and able buyers, ready to purchase at the right price.”

Tim Goodwin, Associate RICS of Williams & Goodwin The Property People in Gwynedd added: “Whilst December brought about the expected seasonal lull, activity was noticeably stronger than in previous years which might be an indication that with the expectation of lower interest rates in the year ahead, confidence is returning to the market for reasonably priced properties.”

Commenting on the rental market, Paul Lucas, FRICS of R.K.Lucas & Son, in Haverfordwest said that demand remains high with limited supply available.

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