Summary of Property Market News March 2009

Summary of March 2009 Property Market News!

March statistics confirm that, for now, some property markets are starting to stabilise, following one of the worst downturns we've ever seen. Either read below or visit our detailed property market stats and commentary.

Buying and Selling Market READ MORE
House prices reports continue to show a loss year on year, which ranges between 9% and 17.5%, and transactions are still down by around half. The 'good news' about the market is really coming from sellers who are determined to move and so have priced their homes accordingly, and investors who are buying what they can afford.  

Some areas are even starting to see a 'normal' market return, with properties that are fairly priced selling within weeks, rather than months.  Developers are not dropping prices any further and the latest statistics from the Smart Home Index showed a small 3% price rise in Feb, but another fall in March.

And For Sale Sign Analysis, who track the number of property sign boards, are showing a continuous increase in the number of 'sold' versus 'for sale' boards.  Nationally, the percentage is around 19% (versus pre-credit crunch levels of 40%), and although some areas are already performing above this, others are still struggling, with less than 10% of properties sold, versus those for sale.  This simply reinforces the fact that there isn't just one property market, but hundreds of differing micro-markets.

The positive movements in certain, specific areas shouldn't be taken as any sign that property prices are going to suddenly shoot up, because the market will not and cannot truly recover until sensible lending at 90-95% comes back, and the threat and reality of unemployment starts to subside.

Renting and Letting READ MORE
This market is now one of the biggest property markets in the UK, from a transaction level, with nearly 14% of the nation currently choosing to rent.

Letting agents have more properties on their books than ever before, with frustrated sellers and unsold new builds adding to rental stock.  In many areas this has meant landlords are having to compete heavily on price and spend money making sure that their properties are in top-notch condition, to attract tenants and avoid fatal rental void periods and empty homes.  

However, this oversupply is unlikely to last much longer, as the increased stock from frustrated sellers will dry up over the coming months.

Auction Market READ MORE
Investors love great properties coming through auction houses at bargain prices, and the auction market is booming.  The percentage of lots sold has consistently increased since October and, although sales values are down by over 25%, volumes sold are still increasing.  Lots sold reached record levels of 72% in February 2009 - the biggest percentage sold for the last two years.

Self Build and Land READ MORE
Residential land prices have fallen dramatically as cash strapped developers batten down their hatches. Green and Brownfield land prices are down by nearly 50%, with self build plot prices down around 15% or more.

However, the latest news from BuildStore suggests interest is increasing for Self Build, with enquiries for mortgages reported to be up by 40% year on year.

Small Commercial Market READ MORE
Although the statistics for commercial property still make very poor reading, prices have now fallen so low that the returns are beginning to look attractive to cash rich investors.

The major problem for many landlords remains having to pay out business rates on empty properties, so deals are actually being done where landlords offer space rent free in order to avoid these costs!

Property Investment Market READ MORE
One of the highlights of the current market is cash rich property investors snapping up property bargains across the UK via auctions, or buying property prior to distressed sellers being repossessed.

However, the sometimes unethical practice of 'sale and rent back' schemes may well have a short life this year, as new regulations are likely to come in by summer 2009.

Property Overseas READ MORE
The overseas market has been devastated for some British property owners .  Investment is not about how cheaply you can buy property abroad, it's about the exit strategy and how you realise your profit.  For too many people, the issue is now finding a buyer they can sell their 'second-hand new build' property to!

However, the investment market continues to prosper, with high net worth individuals investing abroad in opportunities that offer good capital growth return.

For more market commentary on a national or local level:-
Contact Kate Faulkner on 07974 750562 or 0845 838 1763. To read more about Kate, please visit ABOUT US, see Kate on video and for media appearances, contact:

Sylvia Tidy-Harris
STH Management                    
Tel  +44 (0) 1530 263221
Mob  +44 (0) 7970 646872
Fax: +44 (0) 1530 264018 

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