The West Midlands housing market should end 2012 on a positive note with transaction levels expected to pick up and price falls to slow, according to a survey of chartered surveyors.
During September, expectations for future sales reached their highest level since May 2010, as 25 per cent more respondents predicted sales transactions to grow during the final three months of the year, according to the latest RICS UK Housing Market Survey.
This cautious optimism was also reflected in surveyors’ price predictions with 21 per cent expecting prices to fall over the coming three months.
While still in negative territory, this is the most positive reading since the time of the expiry of March’s stamp duty holiday.
Meanwhile, prices in the West Midlands housing market continued to fall, however this is at a slower pace than in previous months.
A balance of 33 per cent more surveyors reported falls rather than rises, the least negative reading since March 2012.
Andrew Grant, of Andrew Grant Estate Agents, said: “There has been a recent improvement to the numbers of newly registering buyers which has countered the overall decline seen over the year to date compared with last year.
“Mortgage facilities are easing gradually but not quite as fast as rents rise - making life difficult for the first time buyer.
“Withdrawal rates of available properties have been gradually increasing as sellers struggle to accept market prices in order to afford their onward purchases.
“This has all led to a settled equilibrium of buyers to sellers where we currently have 5.46 buyers for every house on our books.”
During September, demand from potential buyers rose, with 22 per cent more surveyors across the region seeing increases rather than decreases in new buyer enquiries.
This is the first time since April that interest from would be buyers has risen.
The amount of homes coming onto the West Midlands market during September remained fairly flat, as seven per cent more respondents claimed that supply had fallen.
However, a persisting theme of the region’s housing market in recent months seems to be that transactions are going through where vendors are realistic in their price expectations.
Richard Franklin of Edward Gallimore Estate Agents, RICS Residential spokesperson for the West Midlands, said: “Unrealistic asking prices act as a ‘double-whammy’ in the current market in the West Midlands.
“Firstly, they deter genuine prospective purchasers from viewing and secondly, after the initial marketing period, a downward spiral to a realistic price makes it stale and difficult to revive.
“When instructing an agent this autumn, if the suggested asking price appears too high and out of kilter with others, take heed.”