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5 May 2010

Connells: Housing market activity continues to rise

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by Kay Mitchell

Connells: Housing market activity continues to rise

There have been many reports recently suggesting that the ongoing uncertainty about the economy and the forthcoming general election continues to have an impact on consumer confidence and, as a result, housing market activity is expected to remain subdued in the coming months.

However, according to the latest research by Connells Survey and Valuation, this is not the case and the housing market remains active.

Their research found that in the three months to the end of April, valuation activity grew by 3% compared to the previous three-month period.

Meanwhile, there were 43% more valuations conducted than in the same period in 2009.

Connells believes the strong performance of the valuations conducted has been fuelled by increased activity from homeowners looking to sell.

In the meantime, first-time buyer activity was lower in the last three months – almost one third lower than in the three months to the end of January.

However, this is primarily due to the fact that buyers took advantage of the stamp duty holiday, which prompted a rush to buy homes towards the end of last year.

Ross Bowen, Managing Director of Connells Survey and Valuation, said the “general election hasn’t derailed the recovery of the housing market. Consumer confidence continues to grow, and we are in a much better position than in 2009.”

However, he adds that we need to wait and see what new policies will emerge from the next Government and what role it will play in order to strengthen the housing market.

For many months now, the Conservative party said if it wins the general election, it will scrap Home Information Packs (Hips).

Many believe Hips contributed to the fall in house prices, following their introduction in August 2007, and many housing bodies have called on the Government to review the packs.

Ross Bowen concludes: “With the abolition of Hips on the political agenda, there was a concern that many sellers would to wait to see whether they might save money as a result of new Government policy.

“We have also seen the trend of house price inflation continue from the trough in February 2009. Current homeowners have seen their properties regain the value lost in the downturn, and see now as a great time to move.”

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