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Has UK property market finally turned corner?

Friday 4th May 2012

After four long years of grim statistics, could the UK property market finally be looking more positive?

Continued signs of improvement were seen during April according to the latest figures from "For Sale" board company Agency Express's Property Activity Index.

Month-on-month data for April 2012 shows that nationwide residential property sales increased by 9.5% - the third consecutive monthly increase.

Meanwhile new "for sale" listings also rose by 13.3% compared to March - the fourth consecutive monthly increase.

Given a longer-term perspective, new "for sale" listings during April were the highest since May of last year and the second highest since August 2010, while "sold" properties achieved the highest monthly volume since February 2010.

Of the 12 UK regions covered within the Index, 10 saw month-on-month increases in new listings during April, compared to March, while 11 regions saw increases in properties sold. For both categories, figures were also reassuringly positive when comparing performances for April with those of April last year.
Specific high-flying regions for new listings were Wales (up 17%), the South West (up 18.9%), Scotland (up 25.8%) and the South East (up 33.4%).

For sold properties, the best regional performers in April followed similar lines with the South East (up 19.4%), Scotland (up 20.5%), the South West (up 29%) and Wales (up 85.4%).

Monthly comparisons of new "for sale" listings for individual towns and cities in April, saw the nation’s hot-spots as Cardiff (up 32.2%), Glasgow (up 33.4%), Cambridge (up 37.1%) and Exeter (up 43.7%).

Market leaders in terms of sold properties were Norwich (up 50.7%), Carlisle (up 55.2%), Cambridge (up 62.3%) and Newcastle (up 67.9%).

Agency Express Managing Director Stephen Watson said: "Despite concerns over the impact from the ending of the Stamp Duty 'holiday' for first-time buyers and the Government’s 'double-dip' recession figures announced last week, the UK housing market remains in good health.

"Our Property Activity Index offers a different view on the market place compared to other indices... it’s a barometer as to what is happening or is likely to happen in the near future, so with the monthly volume of board movements hitting their highest levels in over two years and consecutive month on month growth since the new year, I am optimistic that we will continue to see strong performances throughout 2012."

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Mike Jones

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