Estate agents report resilient sales in the UK in April

Long holidays not a deterrent to property purchases

A string of bank holidays and the royal wedding failed to put British people off buying property, as sales in April remained resilient, according to estate agents.

The latest residential property survey from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) shows that the average agent sold eight properties per branch in April, the same as in March and February.

Elsewhere, the number of house hunters registering to look for property took a slight hit, moving from an average of 290 in March to 277 April. Despite the drop in demand, this remains in line with year on year figures, the NAEA said.

Supply levels across the country increased slightly with NAEA agents reporting 69 properties available per branch, up from 68 in March. This represents a significant increase on the 62 homes reported in April last year.

The number of sales made to first time buyers decreased slightly, moving from 23% to 21% across March and April, the survey also shows.

‘Although regional variations do remain, this latest report indicates that the housing market is showing some overall resilience to economic pressures. Despite the expected lull in activity during the Royal wedding celebrations as people took advantage of the series of bank holidays to go abroad, sales remained stable,’ said Michael Jones, president of the NAEA.

‘This continued stability might well be attributed to the Easter break at the start of April, a time when our agents saw increased house hunter activity and the bulk of their sales for the month, which could have cushioned against the drop off towards the tail end,’ he explained.

‘It is, however, disappointing to see the market share for first time buyer’s decrease for a second month in a row. Although in line with figures from this time last year, the Chancellor’s Budget, which made special concessions for this group has had little effect so far. Had the government focused on fiscal stimulus policies across the wider property market, we might well have seen some much needed upward momentum instead,’ Jones added.

Meanwhile new research from Knight Frank shows that just under 60% of new build property sold in central London in the last six months went to Asian buyers, driven by the favourable exchange rate and London’s status as the top destination for international property purchases, with strong capital growth potential and stable, long term investment appeal.

Hong Kong buyers were the largest group at 24%, followed by Singaporeans at 12% and mainland Chinese at 10%, and then other countries in the region.

Knight Frank’s International Project Marketing team, which sells UK residential developments to the Asian markets, reports that £120 million of its London property was snapped up by Asian buyers in the last two months alone, with particular success in the £400,000 to £1,000,000 price bracket.

Most recently, the King’s Cross mixed use development by King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership was launched in Hong Kong and Singapore at the start of April and became one of the most successful overseas exhibitions ever.

2 Responses to “Estate agents report resilient sales in the UK in April”

  1. Great update. It is really heartening to see the property market slowly going the right way, I guess we have to look at it from a holistic viewpoint over a year rather than month on month statistics that will invevitably show peaks and troughs. What I do think is the dark cloud that has been hanging over the property market is lifting. People are starting to feel more confident, the mortgage financiers are slipping their tight grip on the mortgage lending reins slightly so that LTV mortgages being offered are starting to appear again. Also the interest rate rise is yet to happen, and there are murmers of it not happening until later this year – 2011 – if at all.

    All of these factors should point to a general upward trend. First time buyers are key to the property market, and it is disappointing that sales levels to first-time buyers aren't stronger than they are.


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