Online House Hunter: Buyers return to market
WHAT a difference a few days makes. Who can remember those depressing headlines of – well, only a week ago actually – that the housing market had “stagnated”.
But now look at them: Surge in house sales… Demand for houses jumps… House prices fall but sales increase…
Something is going on it seems – and while it’s good for the market, there has by definition to be winners and losers.
But let’s hark back first to those dark days of last week when the latest survey by the National Association of Estate Agents (of its members) reported on stagnation in the housing market during May. The NAEA press release said: “…the combination of large deposit demands, pressure on household finances and the gloomy economic picture for the UK is causing stagnation in the housing market.” The number of buyers and the number of sales were virtually static with the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage once again being blamed.
This week’s headlines, however, have been sparked by the Hometrack survey for June.
Simon Read of The Independent summed it up when he linked the increase in buyers with the sellers ‘getting real’ on prices. He pointed out that the number of buyers registering with estate agents may have risen by 10.6 per cent in June but property prices are 3.9 per cent down on last year. Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack suggests a number of factors will keep prices down over the next few months – and once again the huge regional variations have to be borne in mind. What’s happening in London isn’t true for the rest of the country and can skew the national picture.
So how do you set an accurate price for your property in today’s market? Numerous factors affect a realistic asking price: number of buyers around, how quickly you want to sell, the strength of the local economy and – if we’re to believe the housing experts – whether you’ve got the smell of freshly-brewed coffee wafting through your house when potential buyers come to visit! More seriously, a number of websites offer details of prices in the housing market based on what your neighbour paid for his/her house. The aforementioned Hometrack offers such a service as do the likes of houseprice.co.uk. The latter, powered by Zoopla, offers an estimate of today’s price as well.
At some point you’ll want to talk to an estate agent who knows the local market. The National Association of Estate Agents will guide you to one of its members and also has a number of useful guides on its website, including one on selling your home. Similarly the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors offers a guide about selling your home. I’ve included links below of a number of other sites that offer advice.
Beware of simply accepting the estate agents who offers you the highest value you for your home – ask how they arrived at that price and why it is so much higher than other valuations you have received. A realistic price will save you a lot of heartache and hopefully result in a quicker sale.
- Independent online property search
- Independent House & Home section
- BBC: House Price surveys explained
- Land Registry: House Prices
- Theadvisory: Home-selling advice
- DirectGov: Selling your home
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