Glimmer of hope in the housing marketNumber of househunters on the rise

09 December 2008


If you're selling a house you will need a HIP

The number of househunters rose for the first time in two years last month as steep interest rate cuts tempted potential buyers back to the market, figures showed today.

But the renewed interest in property failed to prevent the number of homes being sold slumping to a new record low, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The group said 14% more surveyors reported a rise in new buyer enquiries during the month than those who reported a fall, the first time interest in the market has been positive since October 2006.

It said the rise in potential buyers reflected the recent steep interest rate cuts made by the Bank of England, which slashed the cost of borrowing by 2% during October and November, as well as falling asking prices.

Further grounds for optimism

There are also expectations among surveyors that sales volumes will pick up going forward, although they are slightly less optimistic than they were in October.

RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf said: "Many are starting to see the current market as an opportunity to purchase a previously unaffordable property despite the worsening economic picture.

"But, unless people feel relatively confident about their job prospects, they're unlikely to even try to obtain mortgage finance unless of course trading down or seeking to release capital."

There was also a slight easing in the proportion of surveyors reporting price declines, with 76.5% more surveyors reporting a fall in house prices compared with those that saw a rise, compared with 81% more in September.

Further data can be found on the RICS website.

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