Easter Revival ‘Almost Certain’

The housing market remained flat last month, according to the latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Prices increased by 0.03% during February, the second consecutive positive figure following 7 months of falls from June 2004 onwards, the NAEA found.

Although the figures show a reduction in growth year-on-year for the February, usually a busy month for the property market, the Association dismissed the possibility of a market crash. It said that the figures show how the market is continuing to stabilise, adjusting to a more realistic pace of growth following several years of boom.

Activity was strong over February, with agents reporting the highest number of sales agreed since last summer. However, there is still a shortage of buyers, and a boost of new instructions kept the number of houses available at record levels. This imbalance in favour of buyers meant that they were able to secure an average discount of 4.3% on asking prices.

Richard Hair, president of the NAEA, said: ?We are seeing a readjustment taking place in the housing market at the moment. Vendors are appreciating that realistic and flexible asking prices are achieving sales and buyers are recognising that they are not going to be able to hold out for a crash in prices. This is finally leading the two to meet in the middle, and as a result we have seen the number of sales return to levels not seen since last summer.?

He added: ?The data shows that house prices have stabilised, but with month-on-month changes once again positive and the balance returning to the market, an Easter revival seems almost certain.?

Activity in the property market usually accelerates over the Easter period, as better weather and longer days provide a push both buyers and sellers.