If you haven’t sold yet, should you have a new plan for 2013?

publication date: Dec 27, 2012
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Current Property Market Analysis:
If you haven’t sold yet, should you have a new plan for 2013?

With the market tightening for sellers as prices begin to look more attractive to buyers, anyone who hasn’t yet sold their property in 2012 needs to seriously think about whether they drop the price or have to do work to the property to sell it. Alternatively, it may be worth giving up selling and instead adapting the home or indeed looking at letting it out.

To better understand what the right thing to do if you are buying and selling as we move into 2013 is essential.

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.

To help work out what’s happening in the market now, we need to better understand the relationship between demand for property in today’s market and what’s happening with supply. This helps us to understand whether now is a good time to sell, if to sell it’s worth dropping the price or whether as a seller, the only way to move on is via letting our property.

The information below is national and regional, but if you read and understand what information you need to make your decision, you will know the questions to ask of local property professionals to get an idea of what is happening in your local market.

Hometrack analyses property demand and supply nationally and in the local markets. This helps us to understand whether prices are moving up or down in individual areas. According to Hometrack’s November data:-

  • The average time to sell a property is down from 10.2 weeks in January to 9.8 weeks in November 2012. This is good news for the market as it suggests the property market is improving. It is still however some way away from the average 6-8 weeks pre credit crunch.
  • Matching this fall in the time to sell a property is an improvement in the offer prices from buyers which have risen from 92.5% in January to 93.2% in September and October. 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 £93,200.  
  • The number of people to view a property before an offer is received remains at around 11 viewings suggesting demand isn’t increasing, just that those looking are serious buyers and those looking to sell are keen to do so.  

As with property prices though, on a regional basis there are huge differences. London continues to outperform the rest of the market:- 

  • Greater London’s offer to asking price ratio is 94.4% and homes are continuing to sell the fastest at 6 weeks
  • The South East has the next highest offer to asking price ratio of 94.2%, selling a home within 7.7 weeks
  • Wales has the worst offer to asking price ratio at 92% and it takes 11.5 weeks to sell a home
  • The East Midlands has a respectable offer to asking price ratio of 93.1%, but takes longer to sell a home out of all the regions: 13.1 weeks

For Sale Sign Analysis (FSSA) provides useful figures as it tracks how many properties are for sale and sold via board counting. This tool is very helpful to you at a local level as you can do a board count on your street, in your local area and this will help you know whether your market is rising, static or falling. 

Once you have carried out your board count, check it against the following 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.
  • A static market is where supply matches demand, approximately three out of ten properties sold. It is likely to take eight to ten weeks to sell and an offer ratio of 94-95% of the asking price.
  • Falling markets (where you can get good deals) 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 indicates 2012 started off to be a slightly better year than 2011 as far as the number of properties sold versus for sale are concerned. However, October dropped right back to 21.7% from July’s high of nearly 32% of properties sold versus for sale and is the lowest percentage figure since January and February. 


This suggests that the market has quietened going into the Xmas period a little more than it has done throughout the rest of the year and prices may start to slow or even fall going into Xmas and early part of January. 

The top five performing markets for October by FSSA are:-

Area Sold versus for Sale Ratio
Ruislip 60.1%
Ashford & Staines 54.4%
Walthamstow 53.3%
St Ives (Cambs) 47.8%
Dalston & Hackney and    
Stevenage (Herts)

Healthy property markets in October

According to the FSSA data, the local markets of Uxbridge, Greenford, Hornchurch, Ely and surrounding villages are currently stable, with around 4 properties out of 10 for sale having sold during October.

The worst performing areas during October were mainly in Scotland and these were Coatbridge and Airdrie (registering under one property in every 10 for sale being sold), with Eastwood and Kilsyth selling just over one property in 10). Morecambe in Lancashire also didn’t fare very well during October, with under one property being sold in every 10 for sale. According to Land Registry data, the average property price for Lancashire this October was £106,531, having fallen back to November 2004 levels and is also -21.89% down on the market high of December 2007. 

To learn how to carry out the for sale versus sold board count yourself, visit the Property Checklists website and sign up for a free property project  checklist. You can also find over 30 property checklists to help you to work out what to do and when for any property project. 

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 report, as with other reports, October saw marked improvements on the activity front, with new buyer enquiries and agreed sales both increased at their fastest pace since December 2009. New vendor instructions increased again this month, along with average sales per surveyor (per branch) and average stock on surveyors’ books (per branch) up slightly (65 to 65.6). 

The RICS also reported “Whilst it’s still far too early to call an end to the housing market stalemate - headwinds abound - there are some early indications alongside the RICS survey which suggest, at least in the near term, the risks to activity and prices are very slowly shifting northwards. Most notably, UK banks’ wholesale funding pressures have eased markedly. Partly as a consequence, some benchmark mortgage rates (on 2 and 5 year 75% LTV loans) have begun to drift downwards and credit availability is projected to improve.”

If you are thinking of buying, selling or investing, then visit Property Checklists or 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 services give 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 an 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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