This has been a year when normality has been all but forgotten. Traditionally one would have expected a slow impetus in the earlier months building towards a bustling late Spring and Summer market, falling back for the holiday period and then pushing ahead again in the Autumn.
The housing market in 2012
2012, however, has been turned on it’s head for most of the year. January saw a great deal of activity as those looking to buy in the latter months of the previous year had enough of waiting and took the plunge. We then saw moderate activity over the next few months as motivated sellers went through the process of bringing their properties to the market. All was looking good…until we all downed tools for the pomp and ceremony of the Jubilee, followed apace by weeks on end of dazzling Olympics and Paralympics. There was actually a significant chunk of this period when the phone hardly rocked in its cradle. September then took a good while to get in gear and activity eventually returned in October.
Despite this, the market has remained fairly stable for the most part, if pretty flat. Much of the activity has depended on realistic pricing and location. As always, the houses in the best situations have faired better than those, for instance, on main roads. There has been a steady stream of price adjustments, especially since the end of August and possibly too late in the day due to the distortion caused by our Summer of Sport. These falls in value reflect the recognition that one cannot be too bullish in such a fragile and subdued climate.
Mortgage lending has freed up to a certain extent but interestingly is down on 2011 levels, possibly more a mark of personal confidence and ability. The better news, however, is that we are (for the moment at least) out of recession and although it is far too early to mention those green shoots, there is some positive talk around.
As an illustration of 2012 it is worth mentioning a couple of sales that we were involved in this year. Both very different, but displaying the key ingredients of Price, Location and Marketing.
A: Property X (attractive house in a road affected position), taken over from another agent after four months of little activity, marketing improved and price adjusted we were able to generate scores of viewings over a number of weeks and agree a sale.
B: Property Y (period house in a prime location), priced correctly, marketed well from scratch and a sale agreed within three weeks.
What we expect from the housing market in 2013
And what of 2013? Without the excuses of national celebration it will hopefully pan out a bit more sensibly than this year. A feel better factor of avoiding a triple-dip recession would be great and would surely provide some buoyancy. The market needs the lift that growing confidence can provide. In the meantime, though, people still have to move house and simply need the right recipe to achieve success.