16:45 PM, 12th June 2012, About 10 years ago
The housing market is still trying to shatter the glass ceiling imposed by mortgage lenders restricting home loans, but expectations are exceeding reality for most sellers as sales have plunged 40% since the 2007 boom.
A number of surveys looking at the market all report more activity but less sales.
The number of homes for sale increased in May but is still 5% lower than a year ago, according to latest asking price statistics from Home.co.uk.
Asking prices edged up 0.3% to hit the highest level since December 2008 – rising 1.9% on the year and 2.2% in the past six months.
Although the UK average shows an upward trend, prices fell in Wales, the East Midlands and the South West.
Connells Survey & Valuation revealed the total number of residential valuations during May was up 4% – a rise of 18% on a year ago.
Valuations for first-time buyer figures – who account for around a third of all Connells’ valuations – increased during May, up 8% month-on-month and 12% compared to May 2011.
Estate agents report sales are down 40% on the peak of the buy to let boom in 2007, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
The average estate agent branch sold 15 houses in May, compared with 25 in May 2007.
They say homes are taking much longer to sell because of a lack of affordable mortgages.
Most estate agents sold just under one in four (23%) of homes on their books in May – a fall from 40% in the boom time of 2007.
The RICS poll of estate agents predicts sales will rise slightly, while prices will decrease.
“It’s no surprise to see such a sizable drop in transactions since the market peak. Ongoing economic instability in the UK and overseas has continued to undermine consumer confidence, and the reluctance of many banks to offer affordable mortgage products has created something of a stagnant market,” said a RICS spokesman.
“Gradual stability is returning to the market and surveyors expect transaction levels to increase over the coming months, even if prices continue to dip across most parts of the country.”
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