Date Published 28 May 2013
Estate agents across London and the South are reporting a significant spring bounce in the market – but say that lack of stock is a concern.
Townends, which has offices in Surrey, Hampshire and Middlesex, said last month was its best month of trading since the market started to go into meltdown in 2007.
Doug Sleeper, group sales manager, said shortage of new instructions coupled with strong buyer demand has resulted in a seller’s market, increasing house prices across the Townends’ network.
He said: `We are seeing numerous individual cases where properties have previously been under offer, come back on the market and have now sold for much more. We are surprising ourselves in some cases as to what price competing buyers will pay for the very most in-demand homes.
`It could be argued that the market is in a bit of a bubble whereby if the supply of new property to the market increases and demand doesn’t keep track, we could be hit by a further period of stagnation.
`Last week we agreed sales on as many properties as we took on, which is clearly not sustainable.`
In London, Douglas & Gordon is reporting a similar story.
Director Ed Mead said: `Given that we sold more properties than were taken on in April, stock levels continue to go down and are predicted to fall further. It seems inevitable there will be ongoing upward pressure on prices.`
Mead said that more home owners than expected `have been toying with the idea of selling up – but frustratingly, they remain just ideas for the moment`.
Chancellors – which has offices across London and the South and also has its Russell Baldwin & Bright offices in Herefordshire and mid-Wales – said the number of applicants was 80% up in April compared with the same month last year, and viewings were up 31%.
New listings did not keep up with buyer demand, despite improvements. Bookings for appraisals were up 30%, translating into instructions 18% higher than April last year.
Rightmove has also reported record interest, with traffic up 20% on a year ago. Mortgage statistics are, however, so far giving little away: according to the Bank of England, March’s lending approval figures were only 3% up on February, with February’s figure a five-year low.
Earlier this week, the RICS said that buy demand was at its highest for three years and Connells’ valuation business called last month the strongest April for six years.