UK house prices continue to rise

House prices in the UK continued to rise during November despite an increase in the number of homes put up for sale, research showed today.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said 35% more of its members reported a price increase during the month than those who reported a fall, the highest level since November 2006.

The group said demand was continuing to outstrip supply, with a balance of 28% of surveyors reporting an increase in enquiries from potential buyers.

It added that although the figure was down from a recent high of 66% in June, it still showed a rising level of interest in the market.

But there are signs that the supply of properties up for sale is continuing to increase, with the number of surveyors reporting a rise in new instructions growing for the sixth consecutive month to reach a two-and-a-half-year high.

RICS spokesman Ian Perry said: "For the fourth month in a row, the survey points towards prices rising, even though the general state of the economy would suggest that the housing market should not be faring as well as it is.

"Despite modest increases in the number of properties coming on to the market, it is clear that this is not significant enough to keep pace with the levels of demand.

"Buyer enquiries are continuing to grow and with the pace of job losses now easing, the risk is that the new year could see a further wave of interest in the market."

The number of sales agreed per chartered surveyor estate agent remained broadly unchanged at an average of 19 during the three months to the end of November.

But the sales-to-stock ratio - seen as a lead indicator of future prices - climbed to 31% and has now risen for the past 12 months.

However, surveyors felt slightly less upbeat about prospects for the market than they did in October, with a balance of 28% predicting further price rises during the coming three months, down from 31% in October.

The housing market remains strongest in London and the South East, while it is weakest in the North, where prices were unchanged, and the West Midlands, where they recorded only "the most modest of gains".

RICS said prices are continuing to creep upwards in Scotland, boosted by a lack of homes for sale.

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