By Chris Sapey of Sapey & Co in Norwich
Despite sub zero temperatures and major snow falls throughout the county during the first half of January the residential sales market has got off to a surprisingly good start. Initially during the first two weeks of the month we saw a number of viewing appointments and market appraisals postponed due to poor driving conditions. However now the snow has cleared many appointments have been rearranged and last Saturday was fully booked with viewings for both sales and lettings. We are now seeing an increase in the number of requests for market appraisals. This is I believe a result of several internal and external factors. Firstly we have taken a bold decision to increase our level of advertising this year – our advertising budget has been increased by over sixty percent to give an increased presence in both the Eastern Daily Press and Evening News together with greater website advertising particularly on Rightmove. This will particularly benefit clients looking to sell. Secondly the stress of Christmas has unfortunately seen an increase in divorce rate and couples separating. This has resulted in more valuation requests as separating partners need to know the realistic value of their homes so they can consider how to determine the best way to divide their assets. Thirdly on a more positive note Norwich has been listed by the think tank, Centre for Cities, as one of top ten cities in the UK which are best placed to emerge from the recession due to a large percentage of the city’s mployment being based on “knowledge industries” such as finance, research and creative media which are seen as the future growth sectors of the economy. As a consequence there is a returning mood of confidence with families now prepared to look at moving up the housing market again particularly since the housing market has stabilised with prices increasing. In addition to the above our in-house independent mortgage adviser, Matthew Farrow, has already seen this year a noticeable improvement in the number of new mortgage enquiries from both prospective first time buyers and existing home buyers wishing to trade up. In addition, he is also seeing a more competitive environment emerge in the mortgage market with lenders looking to build their mortgage book in 2010. With the expectation for bank base rates to stay low in the foreseeable future the outlook for mortgage rates and house prices is good. Subject to status and the loan to value ratio required mortgage rates are currently ranging from just below 2% to between 5 and 6%.
Chris is at Sapey & Co on 01603 616666