The sun brings out buyers as property calls soar
With house prices rising at the fastest rate in the last four years; reportedly being driven by record low interest rates, higher employment and the easier availability of mortgages, telephone answering service Moneypenny has reported a surge in calls to its growing property team.
The company has seen a 19% and 21% increase respectively in the number of calls taken on the first and second Mondays in March as compared to the calls for the same clients on the last Monday of February, suggesting the warmer, sunny weather is further driving activity.
Samantha Jones, Commercial Manager for Corporate and Property at Moneypenny, says it has been a flying start to the year in the first quarter of 2014: “We finished 2013 on a high and the average call volumes coming through continue to rise to the point that we have now added two new Receptionist teams to cope with demand from our new and existing property clients. Call trends tend to give a useful indicator of activity in the sector and it’s encouraging to see this tangible upturn.”
With Rightmove reporting a record-breaking four million emails and phone calls in one month, Head of Communications there, Matthew James, adds: “The start of the year is a traditionally busy time in the housing market but this year to date we are seeing unprecedented levels of activity with home-movers getting through pages of property on Rightmove at a rate of 500 a second and making enquiries to agents and developers at a rate of three every two seconds. Increased confidence is certainly a major factor in this and the return of affordable mortgages for those with a 5% deposit is also helping to give more first-time buyers the impetus to start looking. Whilst some may take this as evidence that a bubble is forming, it’s worth remembering that the market across the UK has been in the doldrums for many years and what we are seeing is partly an overdue release of pent-up demand and is part of the housing market recovery process.”
James Wyatt of Barton Wyatt in Virginia Water and chairman of Surrey NAEA, agrees and says all his members are seeing an upturn in numbers of buyers registering. He comments: “Spring seems to be arriving early, and with mortgages readily available again, Surrey agents are reporting an upward trend in numbers of active house hunters. After several months of fairly flat levels of business, we expect to see significant volumes of transactions from Easter onwards, with a slight imbalance between supply and demand forcing prices upwards by 7-10%.
He continues: “The five year run of the Bank of England base rate remaining at 0.5% looks set to continue well into 2015, and an ever increasing range of mortgage lenders means that buyers are firmly in the driving seat. There really hasn’t been a better time to buy for more than five years. It looks as though 2014 will be good for buyers, good for sellers and good for Estate Agents”.
Moneypenny’s dedicated property team supports over 800 UK agents, handling in excess of 1.1 million overflow calls every year.