Cautious optimism was the resounding message from some of Norfolk’s estate agents in response to this week’s publication of the Land Registry data for June which showed a house price increase by 0.1 pc – the first time in more than a year that monthly change has been positive.
The Land Registry signalled the figures as “not a return to solid growth but rather the flattening of prices,” with the average house price in England and Wales now being £153,046. The Eastern region saw a house pricce above the national average, at £161,451.
Here is the response from local estate agents:
Louis de Soissons, director at Savills: “There certainly seems to be clear evidence that the market is bottoming out after falls overall of about 20pc even in the prime market. The very modest rise reported by Land Registry is indicative of this. We are not out of the woods yet but we are certainly through the worst and transaction levels in our mid market is back to levels we last saw in 2007. The key to success in selling in this market is to be realistic in the guide price you quote and to follow your agent’s advice in promoting the house with a full marketing campaign.”
Nick Taylor, of Hadley Taylor: “We believe that house prices in Norwich stopped falling in March this year and that we will bump along the bottom of the trough for several months until we see modest rises next year. Activity from buyers and sellers continues to increase which is very encouraging and sales are increasingly being agreed at guide price or very close to guide price.”
Simon Arnes, divisional managing director of William H Brown: “Land registry figures tend to be between three and six months behind the sales activity that we’re seeing frontline. We have clear evidence in some parts of the county where house prices have already risen by between 5 and 10pc on specific properties. This must however be put in context on their low point which was around November last year. There is simply not enough fresh stock coming to the market and where prime properties are available, we again have evidence of more than one buyer chasing, therefore this is driving competition on selective properties.
“There still remains a large stock of property already on the market which is laying rather stagnant because vendors are, in some instances, missing the opportunity of securing a sale because of their reluctance to reduce the price.”
Nick Eley, partner at Watsons: “Any news of this type is good news but I don’t think this indicates a quicker recovery. It may well indicate we are reaching the bottom and this should encourage undecided buyers and sellers to enter the market. All my offices has been reporting improving activity and particularly under £250,000 at our City centre office with first time buyers returning despite the restrictions on borrowing. Completions are the big indicator and whilst improving month on month over the last three months they were 42 pc lower than April last year. The Halifax reported a fall in June and the Nationwide an increase so it is by no means clear. What we do know is sensible selling prices will achieve a sale; in many cases quickly and occasionally at the asking price, ”
Mike Rix, of Savills, said: “The Land Registry figures are encouraging and just what the market needs to boost confidence again. We have not seen these suggested increases in Norfolk yet but certainly signs that values are starting to stabilise”
Jonathan Wood, of Sapey & Co’s head of Prestige & Country Homes, said: “Whilst a 0.1 pc increase may seem insignificant, at least its an an increase, not a decrease. We are seeing sellers being ever more realistic on pricing if they want to achieve a sale and buyers are starting to become more confident. However, in order to move the percentage rise further, we need to see lenders passing on more attractive rates and lower loan to values.”
*To see the full story on the Land Registry figures, visit www.landregistry.gov.uk