The latest report into UK housing seems to be a breath of fresh air in a more-than-beleaguered market. According to the National Association of Estate Agents 314 potential buyers registered with estate agents this January, more than at any point since September 2007.
The report also said that agents sold an average of 7 homes per branch in January, up from five in December and that first time buyers had accounted for 25% of those sales, the highest level in 2 years. The sales growth triggered a supply drop to an average of 56 properties for sale per branch, which would normally be understandable with a growth in sales, but for the poor supply picture in the UK.
Mark Hayward, President of the NAEA, said: "These latest results reflect a wider upturn in the market at the start of what we hope will be a better year for UK property.
He added: "The strong number of enquiries during January suggests the financial barriers that have plagued the market for so many years may be beginning to ease as banks increasingly look at new ways to assist buyers."
The NAEA can be accused of bias, sure it reports all the negativity in the world when things are real bad, when it has little to lose from doing so, but at the same time it always seems to among the first to report green-shoots, even when other reports seem to indicate a black picture. However this time other reports do seem to indicate a similar brightening.
Research shows that the number of mortgages on the market has increased by over 30% since the Funding for Lending scheme was introduced. With lenders slashing rates and the increase in new products it looks like the scheme triggered a positive response from lenders, maybe even a new lease of life.
More than 3,000 homes have also been reserved under the Government's NewBuy scheme, which was launched last spring and helps people to buy a new-build home with just a 5pc deposit.
Meanwhile, Land Registry figures released today showed that house prices jumped by 1pc month-on-month in January across England and Wales to reach £162,441 on average.
Prices increased at their fastest rate in London. On average, London homes sold for £373,207 and prices are 7.1pc above what they were a year ago.
By contrast, prices in the North West are down 4.2pc year-on-year, with houses selling on average for £106,527 each.
Mr Hayward also said: "Strong financial results from some of the country's leading house builders this week suggest a growing confidence that some form of a recovery is beginning to take shape."
- Friday 01 March 2013