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December 2008 / January 2009

'Accidental landlords' return to sales market

THE flurry of ‘accidental landlords’ who joined the lettings market in the summer as their homes failed to sell, are now giving up on ‘riding out the slump’ and are returning to the sales market with more realistic price expectations, the Cluttons agency have reported.

Thousands of vendors found they were unable to sell their property over the summer and opted to rent it out in the short term, in the hope that the market would recover in a few months and they would achieve close to the peak prices of 2007.

However, say Cluttons, reality has now sunk in and sellers are accepting that the market is not experiencing a short-term dip, but a longer-term house price correction, which has seen prices fall by approximately 25 per cent from their peak.

James Hyman, partner for residential sales at Cluttons, who have 11 offices in London and four others around the country, said: “Those people who need to sell their homes are realising it is not an option to sit tight and wait for prices to recover.

"This is good news for the sales market, which has been stalled in part by the reluctance of sellers to recognise that their homes are worth considerably less than they were a year ago."

"Many sellers, who are not in a position to rent their property out in the long term, are now accepting that they are better off selling at current prices, as the market is unlikely to recover to previous heights for some considerable time."

"There are plenty of buyers out there at the right price, especially in the mid-market, with large enough deposits to access finance, and there are deals to be done with reasonable sellers."