By Max CLarke

Numbers of properties on the market have increased due to rising sales dictated by what the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), who published the figures, term the Spring Housing Market.

18% of surveyors reported rises in property consultations, up from 4% the previous year. Spring is, say RICS, traditionally a busy time of year so the increase in figures is far from unexpected.

“The return of sellers to the market is positive, but activity still remains subdued and it is difficult to see it picking up materially over the coming months,” said RICS spokesperson, Michael Newey.

“Although there are signs that some lenders may be reducing their grip on the purse strings, in particular with mortgages aimed at first time buyers, there is still a long way to go before lending levels increase enough to have any real impact. Economic uncertainty may also continue to weigh on sentiment for a while to come.”

Significantly, average sales per surveyor over the past three months rose to 15.2, the best level since December. Alongside this, newly agreed sales also edged up in April, as eight per cent more surveyors reported increases not falls in agreed sales, taking the series to its best level for a year.

The picture remains more downbeat for house prices, in part due to the continued imbalance between demand and supply. 21 per cent more surveyors reported prices fell rather than rose in April, but this is the best level since June last year. Similarly, surveyors’ expectations for prices over the next three months remain in negative territory, at a net balance of -18, also taking the series to June 2010 levels.