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Elements of housing market are stabilising, says NAEA

The National Association of Estate Agents has warned the housing market is still very regional but elements of the market are stabilising.

Members reported stability in the sales agreed, the number of viewings before a sale is secured and the average difference between asking and sales price.

President Chris Brown says: “The figures from the April report suggest that the market is stable, however, consumer confidence is still dented. Properties supply is good but buyers are being cautious. It is apparent from the survey results that some people are adopting a ‘wait and see attitude’, watching the market, before making any decisions.

“Many, especially first time buyers, will be feeling the results of the credit crunch and tighter lending leading to them being unable to move onto the ladder or up the chain. Some agents are also finding it difficult to stop sales falling through as people get ‘cold feet’ or fail to secure mortgages but we must remember that this happens in the best of markets.

Brown warns that people need to remember that the market is stable and they are not seeing massive price drops.

“There are still strong economic factors at play, such as high employment and low interest rates and sales are still taking place. Moreover, people need places to live and property purchase remains a good long term investment.”

NAEA says the number of viewings before a sale is secured remained stable at 14.

It says that this is indicative of buyers remaining cautious but still committed and is only up by two viewings on the same time last year. The average difference between asking and sales price remained at 4.7 per cent, showing that although there is still a dislocation in this area sellers may be being more realistic.

The body admits that the number of buyers on agents’ books has dropped slightly. NAEA members reported an average of 237 house buyers on estate agents’ books in April compared to 249 in March 2008.

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