Family home market in Greater London showing signs of revival

UK market sees improved confidence among buyers and sellers

Improved confidence among buyers and sellers signals a positive start to 2012 for the middle market for family homes in London, according to the latest quarterly report from Winkworth.

Sales appraisal numbers increased 7% year on year in the opening months of 2012 as home owners tested the market, the estate agency revealed in its quarterly review analysing the trends and outlook for the London residential property sales and lettings markets.

Sales instructions rose 20% year on year over the same period. New buyer registrations at Winkworth offices increase 12% in early 2012 compared to the opening months of 2011.

Average asking prices dipped slightly as the increased number of properties for sale put downward pressure on prices and the average asking price in Greater London now stands at £625,888, said Winkworth.

While the upper end of the market has been negatively impacted by measures announced in the Budget, and first time buyers are expected to suffer from the ending of the stamp duty holiday and a shortage of attractive mortgage financing, the middle market of family homes in Greater London is showing signs of revival.

However, it also says that there are signs that the Greater London rental market may have peaked. The number of properties available to rent in early 2012 was over a third higher than 2011.

Average rental prices remain at their highest at £2,721 per calendar month but falling demand may put downward pressure on rents in the coming months, it warns.

‘The market for family houses in Greater London, long stymied by a shortage of available stock, is finally showing renewed signs of life,’ said Dominic Agace, chief executive officer of Winkworth.

‘The typical buyer in this segment is a professional individual or couple with a minimum of 20% equity to invest in a new loan. Already a home owner, the need here is for more space for a growing family,’ he explained.

‘It is, therefore, very encouraging to report that our offices have witnessed a 20% year on year increase in sales instructions over the first months of the year and a 12% rise in buyer registrations. Over the same period, completed transactions rose by almost a quarter. Despite ongoing uncertainty in the global economy, we are confident that transactions in the London family home market will increase by 5 to 10% this year against a background of stable prices,’ he added.

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