Current Property Market

publication date: May 4, 2011
 | 
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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Current Property Market


What's happening in the current property market is of much more interest to anyone trying to buy or sell a home than reports which tell us how property prices are performing year on year. To find out what's happening, it's much better to look at figures which measure the volume of buyers, sellers and anything that gives an indication as to what's happening now rather than in the past.

Useful data for current market performance tends to come from agents and surveyors who are ‘at the front end' of the property market. Although this data isn't perfect, it is useful to measure as it helps buyers and sellers to know the right questions to ask and gives them some information to work from.

Overall, the volume for the property market is still poor. On average before the recession, we used to sell anything from 1.2 million homes to 1.5 million homes. Over the last few years we have been struggling to achieve half this amount. Although data is unfortunately three months behind price data, the Land Registry suggest we are selling an average of 56,000 properties per month towards the end of 2010 and it's unlikely that volumes for 2011 are going to be any higher.

Another measure which helps give more of an up to date picture is to see how many homes are actually sold versus those for sale. During a busy market and at the height of 2007, on average, for every 10 boards indicating a home was for sale, approximately four would have posted a ‘sold' rather than ‘for sale' sign. Since the credit crunch a few areas have achieved these dizzy heights, but the percentage sold versus for sale appears to be hovering between 23-25%, lower than 2010 and way below the height of the market.

Regional differences are vast though, with the highest performing area for FSSA in March being Hertford at 45.1% and the area struggling the most appears to be Blackpool at 6.9%. If you are buying or selling, this information is incredibly useful to know what your chances are of selling a property or whether you bag a bargain as a buyer. For more information on your area's performance visit Hometrack.

Hometrack data is extremely useful when buying and selling a home. Although only as good as the data the agents put in, it does give an idea as to whether a local property market is over or under performing versus the national average. You can access this information for free and it is even recorded at postcode level.

Overall, Hometrack suggest that the market is currently underperforming, which fits in with prices slightly falling at a national level:-

Current Hometrack Data 2011JanFebMarAverage*
Offer to Asking price, ie £95,700 offered for a property
advertised at £100,000
91.9%92.4%92.7%95.7%
Number of Viewers, ie you need 10 viewings to secure
an offer
11121210*
Average number of weeks to sell, ie it takes on average
10 weeks to sell a property
10109.96*


What this shows is that the market is still underperforming and the increase in the number of viewers required to secure an offer suggests there is interest out there, but few people are committing or able to secure the finance to make an offer.

Clearly it is taking nearly three months as opposed to just six weeks to sell a property, so again, buyers are taking their time before committing themselves. If current media reports continue to shed doom and gloom on the market, then buyers are likely to hold back making offers and prices will naturally fall as desperate sellers drop to secure a sale.

The good news though for the buyers is that the number of properties to choose from appears to be on the rise. The National Association of Estate Agents and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors data both show that the number of properties they have for sale has risen slightly. This may be due to a slowdown in the number of properties, but it is likely that as we head towards our fourth year of recession, people can't wait any longer for an upward move in the market and are just deciding to sell up now.

NAEA Data

January

February

March

2011 - No of Properties Sold

6

8

8

2010 - No of Properties Sold

6

6

8

YoY%

0%

33%

0%


2011 - Agent Average Stock

69

70

68

2010 - Agent Average Stock

55

56

60

YoY%

25%

25%

13%


RICS Data

January

February

March

2011 - Average No of Sales 2011

15

15

tba

 

 

 

 

2011 - Agent Average Stock

68

68

tba

2010 - Agent Average Stock

65

63

61

YoY%

5%

8%

 



Both organisations also show that despite the increase in stock levels and the suggestion from other data that the market isn't moving forward particularly fast as far as prices are concerned, property sales per estate agent branch have maintained their average of 8 (NAEA) to 15 (RICS) sales per month.

Overall the current ‘national' picture suggests that property sales and purchases are being maintained at the same level as last year, although the prices being achieved are slightly lower.

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