Property sales fall to new low
For both potential house buyers and sellers alike, these are difficult times as the beleaguered housing market in the UK continues to suffer the effects of a wider economic slowdown.
[UKPRwire, Thu Mar 27 2008] For both potential house buyers and sellers alike, these are difficult times as the beleaguered housing market in the UK continues to suffer the effects of a wider economic slowdown.
The number of house buyers fell in February to its lowest point in almost 20 years, according to figures from the National Association of Real Estate Agents (NAEA). The number of house buyers on estate agents’ books dropped from an average of 276 per agent in January to 243 in February, the lowest figure since the survey began in 1989.
NAEA members reported an average of 74 properties for sale in February, in comparison to 83 in January.
The difference between asking and selling prices widened further in February, by 4.5%, highlighting the need for sellers to set realistic prices in order to prevent their property from remaining on the market too long. The number of first-time buyers also fell slightly in February, accounting for 11.7% of sales in the property market, but it is anticipated that this sector will soon recover as house prices become more competitive again.
Given the overall uncertainties in current market conditions, and the knock-on effects of the global credit crunch, potential buyers are faced with fewer borrowing options and a reduction in mortgage products available to them. These factors, as well as consumer inflation and rising living costs, are all contributing to the slowdown in house purchases. However, the president of the NAEA, Stewart Lily, said that “overall the market remains steady despite many external pressures”.
Strong regional differences are evident, with areas such as London and other major cities continuing to sustain a regular momentum, while other parts of the country are seeing a major slowdown or even stagnation.
Commenting on the decline in house sales, Lawrence Smith of Decision Homebuyers said, “Vendors find themselves at a disadvantage in what is currently a buyer’s market, and are faced with few options other than to sell at a lower price than hoped, or to wait it out until market conditions improve.”
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