Weather and holidays blamed for 8 year sales low

The latest market report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) found that the average estate agent branch sold four properties in December 2010. That is the lowest figure per agent since January 2003, when the figure was two properties per branch. In November 2010 the average branch sold seven properties.

Sales traditionally do drop in December as many people are reluctant to buy or sell property during the holiday period. This year the slowdown was exacerbated by the terrible weather conditions that left swathes of the UK blanketed in snow.

NAEA President Mike Jones said:

“December is always a slow month for agents, but there is little doubt that these figures are worse than usual. However it is important not to read too much into it. This lack of sales can be explained by freak weather conditions, rather than any underlying problem with the market. We would hope to see a bounce-back in the next few months. Indeed, the New Year has begun very strongly and agents have reported a very busy couple of weeks that we are hopeful will continue.”

Other figures in the monthly market analysis gave cause for cautious optimism. The supply of properties remained strong at a time when a fall would have been expected. The average branch had 64 properties on its books in December, the same as the previous month.

The percentage of sales made to first time buyers increased – from 19 per cent in November to 25 per cent in December.

The number of people registering to look for property fell, from 241 in November to 227 in December.

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