How to buy a bargain home in the market slowdown
Taking the temperature of the property market can be a tricky but when estate agents talk of a buyers' market those hoping to bag a good deal should listen up.
With agents dropping prices, auctioneers setting lower reserves and a slump in property confidence taking hold, buyers are now firmly in the driving seat
Experts agree the heat has gone from the property market, after two robust years of price rises following the mini-slowdown of 2005.
The National Association of Estate Agents reported just five homes per agent were sold on average in December 2007, compared to eight per agent in December 2006.
Putting a positive spin on the slowdown, it said: 'For those choosing to enter the market now, there is plenty of opportunity.'
However, if buyers can purchase without over reaching themselves and are willing to accept their asset may dip in value, the upcoming months represent an opportunity to test a soft market and perhaps bag a bargain home.
While a consensus has been reached that 2008 will be a tough year for property, there is widespread disagreement on whether house prices are due a significant correction.
Predictions range from a flat year of 0% growth, by Halifax and Nationwide, to a potential 10% fall, by investing guru Neil Woodford, so it is difficult to call whether now is a good opportunity to buy or whether property has much further to fall.
If you do decide to buy now, make sure that your financing is sensible and you are protected from negative equity with a healthy deposit. It is also vital to target areas and properties that will be resilient in a tough market, offer scope for improvement and will appeal to other buyers.
Be aware that homes may fall in value and unlike in previous years swift profits will now rarely be made.
SafeTrade, Local Registered, Approved and Recommended Builders, Plumbers, Electricians, Plasterers, Joiners, Decorators, Roofers and Glaziers etc. Middlesbrough website launch www.safetrade.org.uk/middlesbrough