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July/August 2009

GROUNDS FOR OPTIMISM

NAEA report an upsurge in activity as four homehunters chase every property

THINGS are looking up — at least according to a survey of National Association of Estate Agents members who say there are grounds for optimism after the crippling slump in the market.

A third of agents who took part in the NAEA survey said they have seen around a 10 per cent increase in properties coming onto the market, compared to six months ago — and one in six agents reported an increase of up to 20 per cent.

Now, the Government needs to press the banks and building societies to do all they can to aid the recovery, according to NAEA president Gary Smith.

He said: “Since the beginning of the year, NAEA members have seen a significant increase in demand. There are clearly plenty of buyers out there, but the vast majority of those buyers also become sellers and up-to-date figures show that as the buyers decide on a property the supply of housing will increase.

“It is another positive indication that the UK housing market is over the worst and the NAEA calls on the Government to further badger banks and building societies to respond to the opportunity to pull the situation around.”

The NAEA’s latest monthly survey of their members showed that demand is outstripping supply across the UK housing market, with agents registering an average four househunters to every available property.

The survey found that the average branch had 299 househunters on its books in May – up from 265 the previous month and 247 in May 2008. The average branch had 69 properties on its books.

For the second month running estate agents also reported a successful selling period. The average branch sold 10 properties — a 30 per cent increase on the same time last year and double that sold on average in August 2008.

Mr Smith added: “This is really good news for the housing market and the UK economy in general.

“NAEA members are showing that there are buyers a-plenty out there. More often than not these are also potential sellers who are at the beginning of the process – so there is bound to be a lag which creates a shortage of properties in the short term.

“With mortgage interest rates at historically low levels and prices now far more realistic than in previous years, home ownership in the UK seems to be set to lead the way out of the recession.”