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Weather drove a slowdown in property sales in the South West

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

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Buyer numbers in the South West slumped to their slowest rate of increase since 2012 during February, as adverse weather hit the region’s markets.

The amount of homes up for sale in the region also fell significantly during February, reaching its lowest point in ten years, according to the RICS February Residential Market Survey.

Last month, buyer numbers increased at their slowest rate since June 2012 as the initial surge in demand, driven by the more accessible housing market, dropped.

The cost of a home in the South West continued to rise during the same period – however, this was at a slightly slower pace than in previous months.

RICS residential spokesman for the South West Roger Punch said: “The recovery in the South West housing market has been severely impacted by the flooding in the region, although this is a localised issue, with this downturn not seen everywhere.

“The imbalance between supply and demand is as ever present and some areas still remain the strongest they have been for some time.

“As the weather improves we are already seeing the volume of sales increasing, with many properties that have been on the market for some time gaining offers.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said the statistics suggested that the pent-up demand generated during the downturn was gradually exhausting itself.

He said: “The growth in buyer numbers that we’ve seen for some months started to slow down in February, as the surge in interest sparked towards the end of last summer began to level off.

“One other factor influencing behaviour over the past month may be the weather as rain, wind and, in particular, floods tend to mean fewer people are willing to actually get out there and view houses.

“The ongoing issue that we are facing, however, is the lack of homes coming on to the market.

“It is true that more and more are being built, but supply is simply not enough to satisfy demand. As a result, prices are likely to continue to move higher, making it ever harder for people to take an initial step on to the property ladder.”

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