Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Worst Is over, Say Experts; Francesca Craggs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Worst Is over, Say Experts; Francesca Craggs

Article excerpt

THE housing market downturn could be at an end say property experts in the region. But they predict a sluggish recovery.

Buyer confidence is slowly but surely returning. However, the market could remain unpredictable over the next two years, they believe.

Mortgage availability and lack of housing supply remain key issues in kick-starting the market, according to local estate agents.

Neil Foster, of estate agents Foster Maddison, said: "The best deals for buyers were probably struck in the first quarter of 2009 and, particularly in the investment and new-build sectors, buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to find a 'bargain'. A key feature of the downturn has been that supply of property into the market has been dwindling for more than a year.

"The underlying level of demand is beginning to grow as buyers gain greater confidence in market conditions or simply show determination to move for lifestyle reasons. The medium term is likely to reflect this in stable prices and a low volume of transactions.

"Supply will only increase once the housebuilding industry is sensibly refinanced and/or inflation and rising mortgage costs start to force reluctant vendors into the market.

"The worst is behind us in terms of pricing but the market will remain volatile and unpredictable well into 2011." The Centre for Economics and

Business Research (CEBR) this week said improved conditions in the market suggested that property prices only had about a further 8% left to fall. But it warned that a sluggish recovery in the real economy meant prices would only rise by 6% during 2010 and 2011.

Clive Rook of estate agents Rook Matthews Sayer, said: "The worst would appear to be over. The last half of last year saw prices falling and transactions plummet to very low levels. …

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