Rising number of house hunters

There was an average of 282 house hunters per branch in December following a monthly increase of 7%, according to the latest Housing Market Report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). These figures are strongly backed up by encouraging data that national estate agency Strutt & Parker has seen over the last few months.

The NAEA report shows that December’s figure represented a 41% leap from the lowest December levels seen in December 2008 and it was a new monthly high for the final quarter of 2012. Following on from these figures Strutt & Parker has seen an increase of 17% of buyers registering across their London and regional offices for the month of January 2013 compared to January 2012.

NAEA president Mark Hayward put the latest figures into context to emphasise just how encouraging they are. He pointed out December was traditionally a challenging month for estate agents, as would-be homebuyers typically postponed their property search until the new year. With that factor in mind he said the latest data reflected "a healthy December boost" while also showing "a substantial gain" compared to the low point back in December 2008 at the height of the recession.

James Mackenzie, Head of Strutt & Parker’s Country House team, sees these figures as a firm sign of the year to come. "While nobody is expecting this to be the year of the miraculous recovery across the market especially in the country regions these released figures are hugely encouraging and show that the things are moving in the right direction," he said.

"To see these kind of increases so early on in the year tend to be a good indicator for the months ahead. Across our offices we have seen a marked enthusiasm from buyers and sellers who have high hopes for 2013 and early sales already achieved look to confirm that too. We have also noticed an increased number of international buyers who are even looking outside of London which has been quite unusual over the past few years so it is very telling of the confidence levels."

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