Latest Property Market Figures Show Consumer Confidence Dented

By: Abbi Rouse
Recent statistics from the National Group of Estate Agents have shown that although the UK housing market is still performing well, buyers are taking a more wary approach to investing in bricks and mortar.

The association states that during the month of April, there was a stable performance in terms of the number of sales, viewings and and the average house sale price. According to the NAEA, the average number of viewings before a house was purchased was said to stand at 14. It asserts that while this is indicative of consumers being cautious about which property they invest in, the figure stands just two viewings higher than results from 2007.

For those who have found the property of their dreams and are seeking to raise funds for a deposit, applying for a personal loan could be useful in securing the necessary finance to make an offer. However, statistics from the group suggest that there is a slight dip in the number of people who are looking to buy a house. Looking at the average number of buyers on its members' books, the NAEA notes that while in March there were 249, in April that figure dropped to 237. It attributes this fall in part to constrained market conditions arising from the credit crunch and a reduction in mortgage approvals.

The National Association of Estate Agents asserts that while this has likely dented consumer confidence, there are indications that market conditions will get better in the coming months. Although some analysts have predicted a sharp decline in house prices, the association insists that such a drop is unlikely because other strengthening factors such as low unemployment, high interest rates and sustained spending are still prevalent, which the group suggests will buoy the property market.

Chris Brown, president of the NAEA, commented: "Many, especially first-time buyers, will be feeling the results of the credit crunch and tighter lending, leading to them being unable to move onto the ladder or up the chain. Some agents are also finding it difficult to stop sales falling through as people get 'cold feet' or fail to secure mortgages but we must remember that this happens in the best of markets. However, what people need to remember is that the market is stable and we are not seeing massive price drops. There are still strong economic factors at play, such as high employment and low interest rates and sales are still taking place."

The statistics also showed that sales in the market remain stable despite tightened conditions, with each NAEA member selling an average of seven homes during the course of April. The association insists that this figure has not changed much since January this year.

For those who are keen to enter the property market but have experienced difficulty raising the cash to put an initial payment down, taking out a secured loan may prove an effective course of action. A cheap secured loan may also be of use to those people who were recently revealed to be struggling to meet mortgage payments. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has suggested that a growing number of people will be at risk of repossessions in the coming months.
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