House prices 'survived first rate hike barrage'

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Britain's house price growth continued undeterred by the recent run of interest rate hikes in March, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Publishing its monthly housing market survey today, Rics shows that the number of chartered surveyors reporting a rise rather than a fall in demand exceeded those reporting a fall by a positive balance of 25.5 per cent.

This increase from February's 24.8 per cent supports the claim that the Bank of England's three increases in the base rate to 5.25 per cent in January have had little impact on the property sector.

"The housing market has absorbed the initial interest rate barrage, but history tells us that further rate rises could knock confidence and activity significantly later in the year," Rics spokesperson Jeremy Leaf commented.

He said that strong demand within the housing market offset concerns about harder mortgage repayment, meaning that "prices are unlikely to fall in the short term".

Reflecting the residential property market's position at the higher end of affordability constraints for first-time buyers, Rics' survey showed new-buyer enquiries falling for the fourth consecutive month.

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