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First-timers priced out of housing market, say RICS

Words: Huw Morris
Couple looking in estate agent window

Hopeful first-time house buyers are increasingly unlikely to ever actually own their own home, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warned today as it revealed house sales have hit a six-year high.

Chartered surveyors sold on average 22.7 homes in the first three months of this year, the highest since February 2008, according to the latest RICS residential market survey.
All parts of the UK except Wales saw buyer enquiries increase with newly agreed sales rising most notably away from London and the South East for a second consecutive month.
The survey found 57 per cent more surveyors reported an increase in prices than a fall. Outside London and the South East, the biggest rises were in the South West and East Midlands.
But RICS warned that the market continues to be hampered by the lack of homes coming into the marketplace.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: "Now that the housing market recovery is well and truly under way and mortgage finance is more readily available, buyers seem to be looking to test the market right across the country, not just in the usual hot spots of the South East.
"That said, it is a major concern that we are not seeing enough houses coming on to the market. For the market to operate effectively, we desperately need more homes in areas where people want to buy and want to live. Until this happens we're likely to see prices to continue to increase and it is going to be ever harder for many first-time buyers to conceive of ever owning their own home."
Last week, Nationwide reported an 18 per cent increase in London house prices in the past year, with the rest of the country showing a rise of more than 9 per cent.