Housing Market Showing Signs of Recovery?

RICS report rising interest

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reported growing buyer enthusiasm in their February housing market survey. Buyer interest grew for the fourth month in succession, with London reaching a high not seen since October 2006.

20 percent more surveyors reported a rise than a fall in new buyer enquiries (up from 15 percent in January), with nearly every region showing improved results. The rising numbers reflect the improving affordability of property through falling prices and cuts in interest rates.

While this is encouraging buyers, those looking to sell may still have to sit tight, or consider dropping their asking price further, as the increase in interest is yet to translate into higher average sales, although some regional variations are beginning to show.

The average number of transactions per agency over the last three months fell to 9.5, the lowest figure since the survey began in 1978, with London agents suffering the worst levels.

Commenting, RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf said: "Potential buyers continue to come through estate agency doors but without mortgage finance, transaction levels are likely to remain close to all time lows. Family homes remain in demand but flats are proving harder to sell in many areas as first-time buyers are struggling to gain a foothold on the property ladder.

Estate agents encouraged by start to 2009.

Peter Alan , South Wales’ largest estate agents have reported an encouraging start to the year, as house sales for the firsrt two months of the year, were up 45% on 2008, to an average of 63 sales per week.

Mick McGuire , Managing Director said "Last week we saw our highest level of sales for 12 months, coupled with strong numbers of valuations. A general lack of confidence has prevented movement in the housing market but recently we have seen increased curiosity and improved sentiment, and the signs seem to indicate that this may be the beginning of a turn-around."

"The big difference over the last two months is a result of first and second time buyers re-entering the market and this should help to make the recovery more sustainable”.

First time buyers accounted for 25% of the sales.

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