Has the market thawed with the weather?

By Chris Mitchell, managing director of Howards, with offices across Norfolk and Suffolk

There is considerable debate about the current state of the housing market as national commentators raise the spectre of further price falls amidst the background of a possible ‘double dip’ recession and continuing mortgage restrictions. The picture locally is somewhat at odds with this prognosis as restricted supply continues to underpin demand and values. Locally there was a slow down activity in mid-November last year that lasted through December to mid-January. This was more pronounced than expected however weather plays a considerable part in the winter housing market and this year conditions have as everyone is aware been worse than in recent times. Since mid-January and despite continuing cold and wintry weather the market has been improving with sales in February returning to levels seen last October. Property generally is well priced with the result that vendors of homes being put up for sale in the Spring are likely to be pleasantly surprised by the number of enquiries they receive and the level of offers. February also saw an increase in new instructions which were at their highest level since June 2008. This is an encouraging sign indicating that market confidence is improving and that the balance between buyers and sellers is returning.

Well priced property at the lower end of the market is selling within days of being offered for sale which is another indicator that buyers are very active despite ongoing difficulties with sourcing mortgages. So with spring now approaching it may be that after two years of low activity we are finally seeing a thaw in the housing market to match that in the weather.

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