The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has seen signs of hesitation in the national housing market.
Its latest market survey reports plenty of activity in the market and rising house prices, but there are also signs of a slowdown.
Julie Westby, president and acting chief executive of the NAEA, reported that key indicators such as applicant enquiries, price increases, and monthly sales transacted, remain positive.
However, NAEA branch chairmen, who comment on the situation within their regions, now have widely divergent views.
Areas reporting activity and buoyancy among buyers and sellers include Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, East Sussex, the North, West, and South Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales. However, Devon, Hereford and Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire all report slowdowns.
Westby said: ‘The consensus seems to be that there will be a slowdown. It is the result of uncertainty over the international situation and the lack of a ‘feel-good factor’.’
Kevin Duffy, managing director of Hamptons International Mortgages, said: ‘Activity and prices in central London continue to be subdued. We are also finding that there is a fair amount of buyer apathy in the stockbroker belt.
‘However, outside a 60-mile radius of London the national market is still buoyant in our view. A measure of our confidence that it will remain so is that we are considering opening offices in the North East.’
The survey found that house prices nationally were 16% higher in February 2003 than February 2002.
Viewings in February were up 32% on January’s figure, however, the average number of viewings required for a sale was 17, up from 12 in January.