The battered housing market has received a welcome boost with the news that house prices fell just 0.3% over April, the lowest monthly drop in a year. Alongside the easing in the rate of decline, the research from Hometrack also revealed that a growing number of buyers have been registering their interest with estate agents, while sales volumes grew 15% across the month and were up 70% over the last three months. Other positives to be taken from the survey included a drop in the the average time taken to sell a home for the third month in a row and another rise in the proportion of the asking price being achieved by sellers. For those properties that are selling, the average time on the market is now 10.4 weeks, down from 12 weeks in February, while on average 89.6% of the asking price is now being paid by buyers compared to the recent low of 88.3% recorded in January. Despite the encouraging results, Richard Donnell, Hometrack's director of research, warned it might still be too early to conclude that a corner had been turned. "While the pick up in demand and sales volumes is real, it is important not to lose sight of the broader picture. The volume of housing sales is set to be less than half the level that would constitute normal market conditions. We expect to see just 600,000 open market sales in 2009 compared to around 1.3 million sales a year in what would be considered a normal market."
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