Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Glimmer of Hope for House Market Recovery

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Glimmer of Hope for House Market Recovery

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francesca Craggs

DESPITE "very subdued" activity levels in the property market, prospective buyers are showing "glimmers of interest" thanks to vast price reductions and buyer incentives.

According to this week's figures from Nationwide, house prices have now fallen for 10 months in a row and lost 10.3% of their value since the beginning of the year, to leave the average property costing pounds 164,654.

The average cost of a home across the UK has fallen by 10.5% over the 12 months to the end of August, the biggest drop since the final quarter of 1990, according to the building society.

Yet data from estate agents suggests that buyers are returning to the market, possibly as a result of price falls and the opportunity buyers had to negotiate big discounts.

Sarah Mains of Sarah Mains Residential, said: "We are definitely seeing confidence return in the middle market. There is a good stock of quality houses selling at decent prices. There are some good bargains to be had with reductions of around 10%. A lot of sellers are starting to see the bigger picture and are more negotiable about asking prices.

"Reports may say that prices have significantly fallen. However, they are still much higher than they were in 2005 or 2006. This week we had a property priced at more than pounds 400,000 for sale through our Whickham office which went to best and final offers, with strong interest from two buyers. It's not bad news all of the time."

Despite movement in the middle market, first-time buyers are still holding out for further price reductions according to Sarah.

"Any positive news restores buyer confidence, which is why first-time buyers should look to getting on the property ladder as soon as possible. When the market picks up again, there will be a shortage of first-time buyer homes."

Neil Foster, of estate agents Foster Maddison, cites price falls as a bonus to buyers, rather than a driver. …

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