Spring property sales: news roundup
The National Association of Estate Agents’ (NAEA) report for February has showed an increase in the number of sales across the UK – an average seven sales were recorded per branch for the month, up from 6 in January and the highest figure since October 2011 (8 sales). The proportion of sales made to first time buyers remained on par with January at 23 per cent.
Supply levels across the country increased slightly with NAEA agents reporting an average 63 properties available per branch, up from 60 in January. This is still lower than year-on-year figures as an average 70 properties were available in February 2011. Demand for property also rose during February. On average, the number of house-hunters registering with an agent increased from 260 in January to 293 in February. Buyer interest is considerably higher than in February 2011, when 268 house-hunters registered.
“These latest figures show that there is demand for property, ” said NAEA President Wendy Evans-Scott, “especially at the lower end of the market. The fragile housing market needs all the assistance it can get to generate sustained growth, but the Chancellor’s current policy will certainly dampen hopes of a rapid recovery.”
Savills report prime residential markets beyond London have recorded their first quarterly price rise in a year. According to their prime regional index (which measures properties averaging just over £1 million), values in the UK index increased by 0.6 per cent in the first three months of this year, a growth mainly confined to the South East where values rose by 1.5 per cent. Yolande Barnes, head of Savills residential research said: “This is a clear sign that the £18 billion of foreign private equity that has flowed into prime central since 2007 is now beginning to trigger a migration of equity out to prime markets in the regions. Over the course of the property cycle, its impact will be felt everywhere as it moves out from London and increasingly impacts on cheaper properties.” Prime regional prices are still on average -17.1 per cent below their former 2007 peak and the steepest falls are in the Cornish second home hotspots.
According to the latest research from Hamptons International, there has been an eight per cent increase in domestic activity outside London’s premier postcodes compared to last year with the South Eastern region experiencing the biggest increase in sales (13 per cent) year on year . Howard Bettridge, Regional Director at Hamptons International, says: “The South East has had a particularly encouraging start to the year with many of our properties being sold to Londoners looking for extra space and value for money. The market outside London is certainly starting to stir and it’s no co-incidence that our heightened sales levels are closely linked to the increases seen across our London network.”
This is broadly in line with the results of Rightmove’s latest price index earlier this month which suggested that property market activity in 2012 is on course to be more robust than in 2011. It showed that new sellers’ average asking prices are up by 1.6% and are seeing their strongest start to the year since 2004.
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