DEMAND for property in the North East is rising faster than anywhere else in the country, new figures suggested yesterday.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said it rose at a rate three times higher than the national average in October.
A study for the institution found that 56% of surveyors in the North East reported a pick-up in demand, compared to 18% nationally.
Justin Anim, managing director for Pattinson Estate Agents in Newcastle, said the figures were promising, but warned they related to inquiries about housing rather than sales.
“I’m encouraged to hear that surveyors are reporting more interest,” Mr Anim said. “It’s a sign of confidence coming through.”
But he added: “There are parts of the North East where sales are still very low. And I can’t spend buyer inquiries.”
The number of surveyors reporting an uptake in business in the North East has been rising steadily since August.
It is a stark change from April last year, when more than half of those in the industry in the North East said business had been down.
The institution said the market now “desperately needs” the rise in potential buyers to translate to increased sales.
Vikki Jones, branch manager at the Newcastle-based estate agent LivingSpaces, welcomed the news but also said interest had yet to convert into buying.
“It’s always good to talk the market up,” she said.
“People are probably more interested in the North East than elsewhere because prices are more achievable here than they are in the South, for example.
“With the airport, we also have great transport links.”
But Ms Jones said renting was still more realistic than selling for many of her clients. Ian Perry, housing spokesman for RICS, said of the national upturn: “It seems that, with Christmas around the corner, those who are in a position to buy decided to get out there and see what’s available.”
Ms Jones added that the housing market traditionally picks up around October.
That’s when people are back from holiday and looking to find somewhere new to move into before Christmas.
The West Midlands saw the second biggest surge in demand in the English regions, with 35% in the industry claiming business was brisker than the previous month.
Only in Northern Ireland and Scotland did inquiries go against the nationwide trend towards greater demand.
There are parts of the North East where sales are still very low. And I can’t spend buyer inquiries