A surge in the property market has been recorded by a Yorkshire online agent, reporting the sale of four different homes worth a total of just less than £1m – all within days of being advertised.
MD at Harrogate-based www.esaleuk.com David Rook, has been letting or selling property for eight years, but says he doesn’t recall such swift or significant interest in new properties since the start of the economic downturn in 2007.
“The Government’s Help to Buy scheme has certainly opened the market to first-time buyers so it’s no surprise to hear affordable homes are being snapped up almost as soon as they become available.
“However, it’s not just the bottom end of the market where we’re seeing a lot more activity.
“We’ve had two mid-priced properties in York and another in Essex sell within 48 hours or going online – and with very little quibbling over price.
“Buyers seem willing to pay the asking price at the moment – perhaps because reports in the media of a potential ‘bubble’ are persuading them, if they don’t make a move now, they may regret it in a year or so.”
The recent decision to cease the mortgage element of Funding For Lending was introduced last month to limit the risk of the housing market overheating.
But Mr Rook said, as online agents bolt on more services to their portfolio, buyers are also becoming less suspicious of the concept and could also persuade some to make a move now.
“Research done a couple of years ago suggested as many as three quarters of buyers were at least starting their search for a new home online – and our experience suggests that number is increasing as firms like ours respond to their demands.
“But one of the biggest arguments in the online agents’ favour remains the cost.
“Without the overheads of a high street presence, we can offer professional estate agency services at a fraction of the price of a traditional one – and that’s a powerful incentive for some.
“I wouldn’t go as far as to argue that the advent of online estate agency is helping to drive a recovery in the housing market – but, more choice has to be a good thing and, if we can make moving house that little more affordable, then it could be the tipping point for some.”