Date: 10/06/2013

SPRING HAS COME LATE


It has been a long time coming. There is a mood of renewal and a fresh start. I speak of course of the property market. It has been a very long winter - about seven years of property winter in market terms. Some people who are new to the property industry have never had experience of working in a burgeoning market. All they know are falling prices and low activity levels.

So the market at present must be rather a shock to them. Instead of endless days of waiting for something to happen, suddenly it is happening. Spring has sprung. In many places around the UK property is coming onto the market in very high numbers. Sales are also on the up.

What has caused this change? Is it governmental involvement and initiatives? Although they probably would like everyone to think so I very much doubt that it is. Rather it is people who have sensed that the time is right for a move. Governments don't make markets. Indeed it often seems to be the other way round. Confidence makes the property market, which in turn drives so many areas of our economy.

So there are strong signs that the market is more active now than it has been for years. This is led by low interest rates, an increase in lending, more new home starts and a population fed up with property austerity and feeling a bit better about things in general. The younger people in the property market won't know what has hit them. Nor will those home-buyers who wait too long to make a move if this property spring becomes a summer.

But one word of caution! One swallow does not a summer make. We have a little way to go before we can say with full confidence that the market is on a sustained path to recovery. This is a time to step forward boldly - but never the less to watch that step carefully. This is not yet the time for sellers to get bullish with their prices, or for buyers to get into anything that might quickly become unaffordable if another cold wind blows.

Anthony Wood

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