South West property market continues to be on the up
THE number of housing transactions in the South West grew during January, says the latest RICS housing market survey (February 2013).
During January, chartered surveyors across the region reported a further increase in the number of newly agreed sales with a net balance of 16 per cent more respondents stating that levels rose.
In tandem with this, prices remained broadly stable during the first month of the year. Seven per cent more respondents stated that prices fell rather than rose last month (from minus five per cent). While still negative this does mean that prices have remained fairly consistent from December. Along with other signs, this suggests that the very worst may be over for the region's market.
Despite this, demand from would-be purchasers in the South West fell since the start of the new year, with a net balance of seven percent of surveyors suggesting that new buyer inquiries fell during January. This was also accompanied by a slight fall in the number of homes coming up for sale as surveyors suggested that poor weather may have contributed to the softer figures.
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RICS residential spokesperson, Mike Woodliffe of Woodliffe & Co, Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors said: "Despite the poor weather in January there are encouraging signs; inquires are up and vendors are pricing properties more realistically. In general there are more good news stories than bad around and this will hopefully continue to build confidence for buyers and sellers alike."
Looking ahead, chartered surveyors in the region are optimistic that the price stability seen in recent months will persist over the coming three months and, more significantly, they anticipate prices beginning to move a little higher as the year wears on. Meanwhile, future transaction levels are expected to remain on an upward trajectory, with 29 per cent more surveyors expecting property sales in the region to rise rather than fall.
RICS residential spokesperson for the South West, Roger Punch of Estate Agents Stags, said: "While the report is encouraging there is a real danger of vendors becoming over-confident and complacent of a recovery as the year progresses. To be successful in selling it remains vital to be pricing modestly with levels still well below the figures obtainable at the height of the market in 2006-07."