Current property price analysis from January to June 2012 - Is now the time to bag a bargain?

publication date: Sep 18, 2012
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Current Property Market Analysis: Sell or rent? Time to buy a bargain?


How is the Housing Market?

With the market tightening for sellers and prices looking more attractive to buyers, the big current questions for consumers are:-

I need to move before Xmas 2012, should I rent my property or drop the price to sell?

I'm thinking of buying, but worried the market may move downwards, is it a good time to bag a bargain or should I wait until next year?

As the property market is now dividing into thousands of markets with demand and supply differing according to the postcode and property type, the key to understanding what to do for the best is to get to grips with the local market for the property you are thinking of or trying to sell.

We use a variety of resources which we find are useful in assessing what is actually happening in the current market and although you'll need to get these figures for your property on your street, our national and regional analysis will help you get to grips with what to look out for.

Hometrack data tracks what is happening to demand and supply which is a key indicator in influencing what happens to property prices. According to Hometrack's June data:-

  • Average time to sell a property has dropped from 10.2 weeks in January to 9.4 weeks in June 2012.
  • The gap between what sellers are asking for properties and what buyers are willing to offer is slightly decreasing. Offers versus asking prices in 2012 have risen from 92.5% in January to 93% in June. For example, if a property is for sale for £100,000 at the start of the year they'd offer £92,500 now they'd be offering £93,000. This may well be due to sellers being more realistic about their marketing price though, for example, buyers may still be offering the £92,500, but sellers are asking £99,460 instead of £100,000.  
  • Number of people to view a property before an offer is received remains at around 11 viewings.  

Regionally there are big differences with London outperforming the rest of the market:-  

  • South East has the highest offer to asking price ratio of 94.4%, selling a home in an average of 7.6 weeks
  • Greater London's offer to asking price ratio is 94%, but homes sell the fastest within just 5 weeks
  • The North West has the worst offer to asking price ratio of 91.8%, taking 11 weeks to sell a home
  • The East Midlands has an offer to asking price ratio of 92.6%, but takes longest to sell a home at 12.9 weeks

For Sale Sign Analysis (FSSA) records the number of properties sold versus the number which are still for sale. It does this via board counting. This is a really useful tool to use yourself as you can count up how many sold versus for sale boards there are for a home you own or one you want to buy. As a quick guide:-

  • A fast moving market will sell four out of ten or more boards within 6-8 weeks. Offers will typically be 96% of asking prices.
  • Balanced markets where supply matches demand will have three out of ten properties sold within eight to ten weeks and offers of 94-95% of the asking price.
  • Poor selling markets (but good to bag a bargain) would have 2/10 properties or less sold. Offers would come in at 93% or less of asking prices and properties would take 12+ weeks before an offer would be accepted.

The FSSA data shows 2012 is proving to be a slightly better year than 2011 as far as the number of properties sold versus for sale are concerned with nearly 31% of properties sold versus for sale. Apart from April's figure, this is the biggest figure we've seen since May 2010 when the market ‘bounced back' from the lows of 2009.  

For Sale Sign Analysis Data

The top five performing areas recorded for June by FSSA are:-  

  1. Harpenden
  2. Fleet
  3. Warwick
  4. Hitchin
  5. Harlow and Church Langley

Harpenden, which is recording 59% of properties sold versus for sale, ie 6 properties out of 10 for sale have sold. Fleet is not far behind with 58% sold, closely followed by Warwick (54.5%) and Hitchin at 53.5%. Harlow and Church Langley currently stand at just over 50%.

Local markets which are stable, ie around 4 properties out of 10 for sale have sold, these include Stubbington and Locks Heath in Hampshire, Chichester and Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Areas that are not performing well and will be difficult to sell a property but a good place to grab a bargain include, Chorley in Lancashire and Eccles in Manchester, where just over one in every property for sale is sold and Mansfield has 1.5 properties sold versus 10 for sale.

To find out how to carry out the for sale versus sold board count yourself, read our article ‘For Sale and Sold Boards - How to find out what's happening in your local property market'

Another useful source of data to help us understand the current market comes from estate agent members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  This report is extremely useful as rather than concentrating on property prices, it looks at the supply and demand of properties across the UK.

According to the RICS, "demand and supply, both new buyer enquiries and new vendor instructions declined this month, recording their lowest net balances in over 18 months." Their data, which often ties in with FSSA information suggests things aren't quite so rosy on the sales front. The RICS report says "Average sales per surveyor (per branch) edged down from 15.6 to 15.5", however, the number of properties for sale on RICS books also fell very slightly from 67.6 to 67. Their view of the market over the coming months is "sales expectations turning slightly more positive and price expectations remaining negative."

If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing, then why not buy into our unique One to One Property Services. You can purchase our First Time Buyer Service, which explains everything you need to do and how to choose different services. Our Sellers Service will help you value your property to secure a sale and choose the right agent to sell your property for you. The Making Money from Property and Buy to Let Service will help to set your property investment objectives and find the right property in the right area to purchase.

Our unique, independent service gives an A4 ‘how to' guide, containing dos and don'ts, factsheets, checklists, handy tips and forms. Plus, access to Kate and her team, by phone and email, for essential 3-4 queries you might have during your project.

For more information visit the Designs on Property website.

Need help with a property problem? Have a question? Why not call Designs on Property on 07585 897128 or Contact Us via email.
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