Monday, June 7 2004

Demand is continuing to outstrip supply in the property market leading to continued buoyancy, according to a report issued by Hamptons International this morning.

The estate agent reported that its property portfolio is now 12% smaller than last year, with 14% less properties coming on the market in May than in April, while registered buyers are 13% higher than last year.

This implies that more buyers are competing for an increasingly smaller number of properties, and arrives on the heels of reports over the past month indicating that ‘gazumping’ is increasingly prevalent, suggesting stiff competition for properties on offer.

The top end, country market has been especially active so far this year, with record transaction levels in some areas. Buyers are looking either to make a ‘lifestyle’ move to the country, or to invest in relatively low risk ‘bricks and mortar’ as opposed to the stock market.

However, Hamptons indicates that conflicting press reports about the housing market, rising borrowing costs and growing economic uncertainty are increasing caution among both vendors and buyers. Mark Anderson, Chief Operating Officer said: ‘Some of our offices are already addressing the need for price reductions as it becomes increasingly evident that we may have passed the crest of the spring wave.’

Hamptons have advised vendors to take advantage of the strong current market. Ursula Sadler, Western Region Area Director, commented: ‘Demand and motivation is at an all time high and the time to sell is undoubtedly now.’