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House prices 'to rise by 6% a year unless supply is increased to meet demand'

House prices will keep surging by about 6% annually for the next five years unless more is done to address the "desperate need" for more homes, surveyors have warned.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said it was going to become even harder for people to even consider trying to get on to the property ladder unless more is done to address the lack of homes available to would-be buyers.

In the three months to March, surveyors sold an average of nearly 23 homes - the strongest house sales figure Rics has recorded for six years. But strengthening market activity has fuelled concerns property values are surging to unaffordable levels in places where the supply of homes is not keeping pace with demand.

Rics also predicts the gap between prices in London and the rest of the country is likely to keep widening.

In Scotland, house prices are expected to rise by 4% annually, taking the ­average price to about £168,000 by 2020.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said there was a "desperate need" for more homes to come on the market.

He warned: "Until this happens, we're likely to see prices continue to increase and it is going to be ever harder for many first-time buyers to conceive of ever owning their own home."

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