Housing-market hopes for 2010

By Charlie Jacoby, December 22, 2009

London’s estate agents have done the digital equivalent of sucking their pencils and now say they know what will happen to house prices in 2010. A modest increase in properties coming up for sale is having little effect on the housing market, as prices continue to rise, says the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors. For the sixth consecutive month, more chartered surveyors are reporting an increase in new instructions than are reporting a fall. However, demand is still outstripping supply and most surveyors are again reporting rising prices.

London and the South East continue to be the most buoyant, with buyer inquiries remaining strong against subdued levels of instructions and as such, prices are rising most rapidly in those regions.

In 2010, the London property market will continue to bounce back strongly, despite the potential for further market turbulence in other parts of the UK, according to estate agent Marsh & Parsons.

A large increase in London homeowners putting up homes for sale in early 2010 — continuing the trend of recent months — will help satisfy the enormous buyer demand in the capital, which will boost transactions and lead to a more sustainable rate of house price growth. London house prices will rise between five and seven per cent in 2010.

Manchester may yet boom again. King Sturge’s six-month figures, compared to last year’s, show sales and applicant figures in the city up more than 60 per cent, but stock levels down 41 per cent. Stephen Hogg, partner in charge of the King Sturge Manchester team comments: “These bullish figures demonstrate the strength of the Manchester market. People understandably stopped buying during the height of the downturn, but now, with prices having bottomed, they are coming back into the market.”

It follows a turbid year in the property market. House prices in Britain rose 0.7 per cent in 2009, according to property website zoopla.co.uk, which provides free online valuations for every home in the country.

London fared better than the rest of the UK. The Buying Solution says prime London property prices have risen around 10 to 12 per cent since March 2009, due to supply/demand imbalances, with overseas buyers prominent. It reckons that the early 2010 property market is likely to be quiet in the run-up to the general election.

Last updated: 2:04pm, December 22 2009