Demand for family houses stays strong

Other findings:

* Rise in buyer demand as registrations increase 90% between December and January;
* Property stock levels boosted by injection of new properties in January and February – the number of new instructions doubles between December and January;
* Strong demand creates a sub-market in central London in which quality properties are snapped up above the asking price before the details have been released;
* Buyers from the Middle East make up 20% of foreign buyers in prime central London – up from 12% – as unrest causes buyers to seek security in the London property market;
* Market outside London begins to thaw with demand increasing and sales agreed recovering well after winter hiatus;
* More rental properties come onto the market as landlords grow their portfolios to take advantage of strong demand;
* Rents, however, continue their upward march as supply fails to meet demand; average rents across the UK now stand at £2126 per month – average rents outside London are now £972 per month while rents in prime central London currently stand at £4016 per month;
* Overall outlook for sales market in 2011 is flat, but prime areas and large family homes will continue to see price growth as demand outstrips supply

Dominic Agace, CEO of M Winkworth Plc, said: "The family house market continues to drive activity. As ever, there is movement out of London as couples with growing families look for more space and open countryside, so long as the capital remains within easy commuting reach for work. Our newly created country house department, which caters for this sector of demand, is proving to be an asset to our customers and is experiencing brisk activity.

"First-time buyers are, unfortunately, still struggling to get a foothold on the property ladder as high levels of deposits continue to penalise them. Until there are signs of sustained economic recovery, the banks are likely to continue to squeeze this end of the market."

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