UK Housing Market Now Gathering Pace

Article excerpt

BRITAIN'S resurgent property sector is enjoying its best market conditions for six years as the housing revival gathers pace.

Property analyst Hometrack said a further 0.4% hike in house prices between July and August, together with marked improvements across all key indicators, means the sector is now in its best shape since before the financial crisis.

The market shrugged off the traditional August downturn as house prices grew at an annual pace of 1.8%, marking their biggest year-on-year rise for more than three years.

The figures come amid speculation the UK may be heading for another property boom.

Nationwide building society recently reported a 3.5% year-onyear hike in prices in August, while Bank of England data showed mortgage approvals for house purchases hit their highest level since the financial crisis. Hometrack said there has been an "unseasonal increase in demand" over the past two months, with demand for housing growing by 1.1% in August, following a 1.1% increase in July.

July and August typically see a decline in the number of homebuyers over the summer. It added that properties are selling faster, spending 8.1 weeks on the market - the lowest since November 2007 - while far fewer sellers are taking a discount on their sale price. At 5.4%, the discount to asking prices is the lowest since September 2007.

Duncan Young of Sanderson Young said: "According to Isaac Newton, what goes up must come down. Fortunately, in the property market at least, what goes down must also come up. At least that is what happened in the 70s, the 80s and the 90s after periods of recession.

Now it looks as if history is repeating itself. Estate agents are always glass-half-full people. …