The supply-demand imbalance continued to place upward pressure on house prices in November, the latest report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows.

Participants in the monthly residential market survey provided a net balance of 13% for new buyer enquiries, up on the 11% recorded a month earlier, while a net balance of -18% saw new listings drop.

Estate agents now only have about 37 properties on their books on average, against around 42 back in January this year, RICS said.

The survey also gives a net balance of -9% for agreed sales, which is the fifth sequential month of negative results for this metric.

A net balance of 66% of respondents predict that prices will increase over the next 12 months on the back of the housing shortage.

There is also a lack of property stock in the lettings sector. A net balance of 48% saw an increase in demand while landlord instructions are marked by a net balance of -24%.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: “Unless this [supply-demand imbalance] trend is reversed soon, transaction levels may flatline in 2022 with limited choice proving more significant than any shift in the interest rate environment for new buyers.”

Lawrence Bowles, director of residential research at Savills, commented: “The latest RICS data show that sales activity is still running far higher than normal levels, even after moderating since the stamp duty holiday ended.

“In November, the sales to stock ratio was 46%, compare to the 2017-2019 average of 34%. As people rush to move home before Christmas, we expect continued strong activity through the year and for 2021 to go down on record as a bumper year for home sales.

“With interest rate rises on the horizon and affordability set to tighten, we can’t expect this flurry of activity to continue indefinitely. We predict transactions will ease back to 1.24 million in 2022 – lower than this year, but still higher than the 2017-19 average [1.20 million].”

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