Property demand up as prices fall
Demand for property increased for the first time in four months during November as price falls tempted buyers back to the market, research indicates.
The average estate agency branch had 241 house-hunters on its books during the month, up from 218 in October, according to the National Association of Estate Agents.
But the rise in demand was not matched by an increase in sellers, with the number of people putting their home up for sale dropping for the second consecutive month, leaving the average branch with 64 properties.
The dip in sellers is not unusual for the time of year, as people traditionally put off selling their home until after the festive season, as they do not want to disrupt their family over Christmas.
The NAEA said many homeowners also continued to have unrealistic expectations about the value of their property, and were likely to be holding off selling in the hope that prices will rise again next year.
The fall in sellers is good news for the property market, as it will help to correct some of the mismatch between supply and demand, which has been caused by buyers postponing decisions to move, while homeowners had continued to come to the market.
The shortage of buyers relative to stock levels had put purchasers in a strong negotiating position, exerting downward pressure on prices.
Sales levels remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive month during November, despite the seasonal slowdown, with estate agents selling an average of seven properties per branch.
Michael Jones, president of the NAEA, said: "There is still clear evidence of demand for property in the UK housing market. In fact, given the restrictions on mortgage lending and the approach of Christmas, the true level of demand is probably higher than indicated by our figures.
"These are not window-shoppers. Our agents are continuing to make sales and it is particularly pleasing to see sales figures remain constant at this time of the year."