Country houses for sale

Property market levelling out

The current property market is levelling out, according to new research from the National Association of Estate Agents.

Despite fewer people entering the market, stability is reported in the number of sales agreed, the number of viewings before a sale is clinched, the time between instruction and sale, and the percentage of agreed sales that have fallen through.

‘The good news is sales are not getting any worse, which is encouraging,’ says Peter Bolton King, group chief executive of the NAEA. ‘There are one or two green shoots, perhaps due to some lenders relaxing qualifications to get a mortgage.’

Although some certainty appears to have returned, house hunters still lack confidence. The number of people searching for homes dropped in July with an average of 192 on agents’ books compared to 226 the previous month.

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Many consumers are still adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach, hoping for an improved market in the near future. The recent Stamp Duty debate could cause a further hiatus in the market, adds the report.

Mr Bolton King points out that the underlying factors in the economy haven’t gone away and we will have a rising population for years to come that will need somewhere to live.

‘There are more household units with immigrants coming to live in the UK, people divorcing and many wanting to live on their own,’ he says. ‘In addition, things have got worse with builders effectively shutting up shop recently.’

Mr Bolton King says prices could come down a bit more, but in the medium-term it shouldn’t matter a great deal. ‘What you are buying is your home and not just bricks and mortar,’ he adds.