02 Sep 2011
In any market, the conversation often revolves around the likely future of house prices. Will they go up, will they go down, will they remain stable?
Even the most credible authorities tend to disagree on the direction of property prices and sales volumes, so where does that leave the humble consumer? Baffled!
The problem is the source of data that is used to make assumptions about the market is fickle. For example, you could look at the latest Land Registry figures. These record the volumes and prices of sales that completed up to a year after the sale was arranged. But a lot can happen in that time – tax, economic data, interest rate changes and 120 days of media influence can make a vast difference to buyer sentiment!
You could look at the figures supplied by property portals such as Rightmove. These can be a more accurate reflection of the current situation because they interpret the relationship between the changes in the number of properties on the market and average asking prices, and the number of buyers registering within the previous month. Of course, asking prices are no reflection of sale prices!
Then there are the figures provided by various estate agency chains. However, some of these can be biased because that agency might only specialise in a specific sector.
As estate agents, we have to be acutely aware of what is happening in the market at a given point in time. We have a huge responsibility to get it right for our clients first time, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Ultimately, we find that the most reliable indicators lie in our ability to interpret the needs and comments of our buyers at local level. After all, it is today’s buyers who determine the current value of your property!