The state of things

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Posted on: 16 September 2010 by Stewart Andersen

After months of flatlining, there is some tentative evidence to suggest that the property market is still alive...just. But media reports are sending mixed messages.

James Wyatt, Senior Partner of Barton Wyatt Estate Agency and Chairman of The National Association Of Estate Agents says: “With base rates predicted to stay low for at least another year, the market will continue to prosper as people hurry to fix their mortgages for five years. As the base rate starts to creep up, it is hard to say how the property market will react.

“There have certainly been mixed reports in the media, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on the activity in London. There seems to be a London ripple phenomenon reaching us here in Surrey, as prices in the prime spots in the capital have recovered and increased, so four to six months later we experience the same affect.”

Adam Challis, Head of Research at Hamptons International states: “In the short-term, house prices are likely to 'soften' as the market finds a new equilibrium. The price adjustment is being driven by tentative demand due to current uncertainty in the economy. At the same time, the supply of properties available for sale has grown.

“Mortgage availability for first-time buyers and those with smaller deposits is the most significant constraint on demand, having a knock-on effect on buyers further up the chain. Despite looming public sector spending cuts, the nascent economic recovery should gather strength and that will have a positive impact on sentiment, encouraging stronger demand into 2011.”

Planning is one area that affects many people who own a property especially where existing owners are looking at improving or enlarging their homes rather than moving elsewhere.

According to Nick Botterill, deputy leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Council: “My personal opinion is that there are certain trends on the residential property market in Hammersmith & Fulham which impact on council services like planning.

“The West London market appears to be continuing to diverge from the national one in that we are still seeing streams of considerable wealth attracted particularly to our most expensive areas. From planning statistics there seem to be continuing very high levels of remodelling of properties and there is some evidence that there is less turnover of residents in the family house market.”

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