Online House Hunter: Are sellers starting to get real?
THERE is a strong message coming from estate agents to those selling their homes: it’s time to get real. The market is starting to recover but unless people start asking – and expecting realistic house prices – then buyers aren’t going to bite.
Ian Harris from the Norfolk branch of the National Association of Estate Agents, for example, says in their latest monthly report: “Data continues to flow from a variety of sources showing a continued downward trend in prices. The price changes are fairly small but they do reflect a willingness amongst sellers to set prices to stimulate the market and generate a sale. Buyers need to act now to take advantage of these opportunities whilst they are still available.”
These sentiments are echoed by other NAEA members including Mark Bentley from the Birmingham branch who suggests that the good folk of Birmingham are already starting to ‘get real’. It’s a suggestion borne out by Land Registry figures on house prices in that city.
The price of an average home in Birmingham in March 2011 was £119,507. This is just ahead of where it was a year previously. Indeed the Land Registry figures show a positive annual change in their monthly figures stretching back over the last 12 months. But the month-on-month figures saw a 0.8%drop in February and a 0.1% drop in March. Could the lowering of prices be key to breathing life into the number of sales?
Mark Bentley said in the NAEA’s latest report: “There are plenty of potential buyers in the marketplace but they want to feel certain that they are not paying too much for a property and that the value of the property they buy will not fall in the short term. Vendors are becoming more realistic and are agreeing to price reductions.”
And he went on: “The message is simple – If you want to sell your house this summer, you must make sure that it is not overpriced. It must represent good and fair value for money.”
Only time will tell whether sellers will budge enough to sway the UK’s hesitant buyers.
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