The start of 2012 has seen demand in the residential sales market rocket with Townends estate agents, who operate across London, Surrey, Middlesex and North Hampshire, reporting a 51% rise in applicant numbers in the first month of trading versus the same period last year.
The demand is expected to continue in a similar vein throughout February. However, despite pent up demand, some buyers, particularly those looking to upsize into a family home, are struggling to find what they are looking for.
According to Townends estate agents, year on year viewing figures are up 44% but Douglas Sleaper, group sales director, said that a comparable number of new instructions coming to the market is needed to support this demand and create an active market.
‘We have experienced our best week of viewings for over a year and much of it seems to be from second time buyers who have, for example, found a purchaser for their two bedroom flat and are now looking to take the next step into a starter family home. However, whilst this is positive news, if buyers are unable find what they are looking for, they are likely to give up,’ he said.
Despite increased demand, Sleaper believes house price rises are unlikely for much of the year, with peaks and troughs being location specific and dependent on the type of properties available and their respective asking prices.
‘For vendors contemplating a move, demand is definitely in their favour as buyers are becoming increasingly positive, but there is still a need to be realistic when it comes to pricing in order to secure a sale,’ he explained.
With that said, if a property is priced correctly, there is a good chance of a sale, according to Sleaper. ‘Last week a three bedroom house near Streatham Common was brought to the market, within a week this property received multiple offers from three buyers and was subsequently agreed for £5,000 over the asking price,’ he said.
‘When good properties come to the market at the right price, we are seeing a disproportionate amount of interest and this demonstrates that buyers should move quickly if they find the right property to avoid potential disappointment,’ he added.