March seems to have seen a major step forward in the property market. Anthony Wood of Samuel Wood and Co considers the significance of the latest figures.
Official figures now point out that the housing market hit a three-year high in March. But we didn’t really need official figures to tell us that. The level of activity has increased significantly. The higher number of viewings, offers and sales is there for all to see. Inevitably the number of properties on the market is dwindling. Pressure on buyers is growing. In some areas gazumping is raising its ugly head again – remember gazumping?
Of course this increased activity is by no means across the board and we are a long way from repairing all the damage of the past seven years. But it is a start. Can we sustain this improvement? It is all down to the economy, jobs, interest rates, other people, other countries and confidence. Last spring started the same way. But then we had the Euro crisis.
The recent death of Margaret Thatcher reminds those of us who lived through it, of her decade in power. It was a time of depression, anger and protest - but also one of growth, of greater opportunity and getting on one’s bike to look for work. We are also reminded of Baroness Thatcher’s housing legacy – good or bad. Say what you will about the Iron Lady – and most do have a lot to say – she did put confidence and pride into a country that was at a very low ebb. The happy recipients of her right-to-buy housing policy at the time are generally supportive. But many benefactors of that policy today blame her for a share of our housing woes. Yet the confidence she instilled did power a period of intense property growth. The economists will argue these points for years.
But the past is another country. We must look forward. Who’s to say that this latest surge in activity will not be the kick-start we need now? Spring is, at last, almost here. Other buyers are out there eagerly looking at property. My advice is don’t wait until you see a property on a property portal. By then it could be too late. Property portals are useful but they do level the playing field. The best way of finding the right property is still having a regular dialogue with a good estate agent. It’s the best way to get ahead of the rest – just like they did in the ‘80s!