We now find ourselves in the Spring market traditionally the most active time of year in the UK property market. If we look at market conditions at the same time last year we could describe them as being lukewarm at best. In order to try and build a picture of what we are likely to expect in the next quarter I propose to analyse the various housing market barometers that have been released in the past week.
The number of UK property enquiries has continued to increase across the country during March according to the survey published by the RICS yesterday. Estate agents report that new buyer enquiries edged up in the month of March by 9%, the highest rise for almost 2 years. By the same token, the flow of new properties coming to the market remained stable in line with this increased buyer demand.
So the number of buyers and vendors have increased – but what about transaction levels and the effect on prices? HMRC have recently reported the encouraging statistic that the number of completed transactions is now at a 3 year high, they report that the number of sales in January and February is 14% higher than in the same period last year. Agents have reported nationwide, with the exception ofLondon, that prices continue in a state of equilibrium. This is echoed by the Halifax who, last week, released figures showing a minimal decline of 0.1% compared to the final quarter of 2011.
A conclusion that I am sure many will agree with is that we are currently operating in a, relatively speaking, stable market. Increasing transaction levels and stable prices give cautious optimism for the remainder of the Spring and early Summer market.