The debate continues over whether we are genuinely seeing some green shoots of recovery in the housing market. The latest house price figures from Halifax reported a fall of 1.7% in April, but the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has this month reported that enquiries and sales are continuing to pick up.
It found that enquiries increased for the sixth month in a row in April and sales also edged up, albeit from historically low levels.
Meanwhile, Rightmove, the property website, said that asking prices were up 2.4% in May. However, it said that May also saw the lowest number of new properties coming to the market since 2003. The number of mortgages approved for house purchase is also on the up says the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) in its report for March. It found that first-time buyers accounted for 40 per cent of house purchase lending, the highest proportion since April 2005. Overall, the month saw a 29% increase in the number of loans advanced for house purchase.
However, like RICS, the CML stressed that while these increases were good news, the total number of mortgages is still low compared to last year.