Strong Housing Market in the Coming Months?

By: Alison White

Traditionally, spring is the season when the housing market picks up.
An increase in the number of buyers, helping boost the number of sales agree, points to a much stronger market in the coming months.

City bonuses have ignited the housing market in London.
Big houses are selling fast, often going to sealed bids.
In one case a property was reported to have attracted 33 bids.

Furthermore, the growth that started in the prime areas of London is showing signs of spreading out across the rest of the capital.

London continues to be the engine for national house price growth with values in the capital moving 1.2% higher over the month and by over 3% over the last quarter.
In contrast, growth in the regions away from the south of England has totaled less than 0.5% over the last three months.

The strong performance by London is down to an on-going mismatch between the number of homes coming to the market for sale and the growth in demand.
The Hometrack index shows the supply of homes for sale has grown by 14% over the last quarter, whilst demand has grown in excess of 50%.

Incomes are rising, interest rates are low, employment remains high, the demand for homes is growing with immigration and the creation of new households, and new house building still struggles to keep up with demand.

On the supply side, estate agents are reporting some increased levels of supply on their books as new sellers come to market perhaps encouraged by the recent upturn in prices.

But supply is still at a relatively low level and in spite of strong buyer interest, this, coupled with higher house prices choking off some demand, suggests that activity will fall towards its longer term average over the coming months.

Capital Economics' Ed Stansfield commented: "There is clearly still some appetite for buying at these high prices and banks and building societies seem to be keener than ever to lend the money.
As long as interest rates remain low nothing too bad can happen."

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