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News and views on the property market – 21 May 2009

Market Overview

According to Government figures despite an annual house price fall of 13.6 % nationally to March 2009 (12.7 % West Midlands) the decline in property prices has slowed. Whilst the number of transactions is still significantly down the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has commented that there are some small signs of a recovery in the property market with its members being “universally optimistic” about sales. At the same time, it is too early to be fully confident of a sustained recovery so we should be no more than cautiously optimistic.

There is a real shortage of good quality property, particularly at the mid to high end of the market. A number of vendors still seem to be hesitant in putting their homes up for sale with estate agents on the open market and are instead quietly testing the market. This makes life very difficult for prospective buyers to access these ‘off market’ properties.

Another difficulty facing buyers is knowing whether the property they are interested in is priced at a ‘realistic’ price or the agent has been instructed by their client to put it on at a more inflated price knowing that the reality is that they will have to accept a lower offer.