Confidence rising with encouraging start to year
“A December rise of 1.3% ensured the latest figures from the Halifax house price index show an increase across the last quarter of 2012 of 0.6%, indicating a firming and stabilizing of market conditions. This is the first quarterly increase we have seen since May 2012, which itself followed six consecutive falls,” he says.
“Taking the year as a whole, we saw a return to a more stable picture, with six months of rises and six of falls, and only a small overall decline of 0.3%, leaving prices only marginally lower than at the end of 2011.
“Encouragingly, Halifax reports that the current economic situation has not dented public confidence in the market, with 38% of those taking part in a tracker survey believing that house prices will rise in the next year. Only 18% took the opposite view.
“Personally, I have no illusions as to how tight things are for many, and when price levels are uncertain and mortgages are hard to find, transaction levels are bound to fall. We now have half the number of transactions taking place that we had in the boom years. But despite subdued economic growth and pressure on household finances, people have their lives to be getting on with and for some this means making a move now rather than some time in the future.
“There has been a degree of pent-up demand stored over the last four years, but judging by activity levels since the New Year, I am hopeful that we may be seeing a start of a sales surge. Agents will tell you when the year starts with a bustle, it often bodes well for the whole spring market – and January is looking like exactly the kind of start we like to see.”
Alan Williams, Managing Partner