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UK housing market shows signs of improvement

The number of people registering with estate agents to buy property improved from an average of 227 in December to 252 in January however this is still down on January 2010’s figure of 291.

While both the end of the holiday season and back-log in demand following December’s big freeze helped to boost activity in January, this latest reports suggests there is still a considerable number of consumers reluctant to enter the market.

The number of houses available for sale increased from 64 per branch in December to 69 per branch in January indicating that demand for property can be met in the short-term, which will ensure stability. The average agent sold six properties in January compared to four in December.

Michael Jones, President of the NAEA, said:

“It is encouraging to see activity levels begin to increase following the downturn we saw in December where bad weather and the Christmas festivities kept many house hunters away.

“However, when compared with our report from this time last year, the market is still showing signs of consumer reluctance. Macro-economic issues such as the VAT rise and interest rate pressures continue to put many people off searching for property.

“What we need to see now is the FSA using its newly-gained powers of oversight to ease mortgage lending restrictions that are preventing so many first time buyers from entering the housing market.

“The percentage of sales made to this consumer group decreased slightly from 25 per cent in December to 24 per cent last month. We must ensure that their aspirations for property ownership can be met.”

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