Housing market 'revitalised'
28th Feb 2005, a Monday
New buyers are returning to the housing market
confident that interest rates have peaked, Hometrack figures showed
this morning. The number of buyers registered with the property
website jumped 28.5% last month
The size of the increase suggests a revitalisation of the
market," said Hometrack.
The same study also found a 36% increase in completed sales in
February, compared with January. At the same time, it said the
average time to sell a property fell marginally to 7.6 weeks, the
first fall since May 2004.
Despite these positive signs, Hometrack said the average house
price fell 0.2% last month - the eighth month in a row that prices
have gone down.
Seven counties in England and Wales reported price rises, with
South Lincolnshire, Surrey, Greater Manchester, Birmingham and Devon
recording an increase of 0.1% up to 0.3%.
The best performing cities were Warwick, Bournemouth, Gloucester,
Manchester and Middlesbrough. Leicester, Chester, Stoke- on-Trent,
Lincoln and Sunderland were among the cities to report falls. Prices
dipped across Leicestershire, the East Riding of Yorkshire,
Staffordshire, Merseyside and East London.
Hometrack said the biggest increase in the number of buyers
registered with agents was in East Anglia at 39.9%, followed by
39.7% in the East Midlands and 38.3% in the South East.
Those in East Anglia reported a 51.1% increase in sales agreed
compared with January. The figure was 45.4% in the West Midlands and
4% in Greater London.
Hometrack's housing economist, John Wrigglesworth, said: “After
eight months of housing market doldrums, the first signs of a robust
recovery have appeared. A significant rise of new buyers, and an
even more marked increase in agreed sales have stabilised prices. An
analysis of recent trends suggests the worst is definitely over in
terms of price falls.
“We expect prices to resume their long-term inevitable upward
movement before the end of the year, fully compensating for the
recent falls” He added: “A more stable interest-rate outlook,
ongoing low unemployment, and rising household incomes will all help
support rising house prices by the end of the year.”