For Sale and Sold signs point to road to recovery

Data based on For Sale and Sold board movements suggests the residential housing market is improving.
June’s Agency Express Property Activity Index reveals the number of ‘Sold’ signs instructed by estate agents in June rose to its highest level for 14 months – since April 2008 – showing a 19.2% increase on May 2009. Year-on-year there were 36.3% more sales in June 2009 than June 2008.
The region showing the greatest monthly increase in the number of boards moving to ‘Sold’ was the West Midlands, with a 58.7% rise, followed by the East Midlands, with a 35.1% increase and Yorkshire with a 28.8% increase. The regions experiencing the lowest increase in sales were Wales which remained static, London where there was a 7.6% increase and the North East where 8.3% more sold signs were instructed.
All regions across mainland UK have experienced increases in house sales except Wales, which remained static from May.
Q1 and Q2 2009 have shown significant increases in properties sold on Q4 2008 (the lowest quarter on record) with Q1 2009 up on June’s new ‘For Sale’ board activity is still 32.9% down on last June and 56.1% down on the highest recorded month in the last two and a half years (which was May 2007).
Agency Express says another indicator that confidence is returning to the market, is the 20.4% increase from May to June in the number of ‘For Sale’ boards being erected – the fifth month out of the last six that the number of new ‘For Sale’ boards has increased on the previous month since December 2008 – the lowest recorded level.
The regions showing the greatest monthly increase in the number of ‘For Sale’ boards being put up are the East Midlands at 37.4%, followed by Yorkshire with 26.0% and London at 25.4%. The regions showing the smallest monthly rises in the erection of For Sale boards were Scotland at 2.1%, the North East at 13.9% and the South East at 15.4%.
Stephen Watson, managing director, Agency Express, said: &quotOur Index shows that there are grounds for continuing optimism that we have seen the bottom of the market. Confidence is definitely returning and we have seen a step-change in the number of properties being sold right across the UK. This in turn is likely to encourage more people to put their houses up for sale and we have certainly seen evidence of this happening already. But, we are not out of the woods yet. The number of properties sold in June is still significantly behind the monthly average we saw in 2007 and I would suggest that it’s likely to take another couple of years for a full recovery to take place.&quot