Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:13 UK

Viewings rise brings sales hope

Gileston Manor
Gileston Manor in the Vale of Glamoragn has an asking price of 2.25m

Viewings of properties at the more expensive end of the housing market in Wales are on the rise, according to some industry insiders.

The Cardiff office of estate agent Savills has reported a 167% rise in viewings in July and August.

Chartered surveyors Cooke and Arkwright said it was witnessing a "phenomenal recovery" compared to last year.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Wales has said estate agents had seen sales numbers rise.

Stock market listed estate agent Savills has reported a second quarter of rising prices in the high end of the housing market.

A spokeswoman said prime London sites had been leading the rise since the beginning of the year, with the regions following six-to-eight months behind.

Peter Reilly, head of sales at the firm's branch in Wales, said housing "hotspots" such as Cyncoed, Lisvane, Roath Park and Marshfield were emerging in Cardiff and its surrounding areas.

People's lives have been on standstill since September 07 through to January this year and nobody had the confidence to do anything.
Francesca Tanguy, Cooke and Arkwright

He said: "People are taking comfort in the fact that if the bottom of the market has not been reached, we're at least very close.

"This time last year we didn't know how bad it was going to get. Now, if the worst is over, or very nearly over, people feel they can look forward with confidence.

"People just want to get on with their plans for that bigger garden, the extra bedroom and the supply of good quality houses has been limited.

'Drop rate'

"These [hotspots] traditionally have been great investible areas because they have good schools and amenities, all the things which keep them reliable."

Cooke and Arkwright associate director Francesca Tanguy said home viewings in September had led to 40% of her department's property sales income for this year.

She said: "The drop rate has gone completely. People's lives have been on standstill since September 07 through to January this year and nobody had the confidence to do anything.

"It takes along time to get a sale agreed but once it's agreed, the mortgage offer has been approved and it's a very low drop rate."

Bronwydd Avenue, Cyncoed, Cardiff
This four double bedroom detached house is on the market at 729,950

"The problem is with the first-time buyers still having to stump up 20%. You can see that makes the first-time buyer market difficult."

Ms Tanguy, who heads the country and executive homes department, said bookings had risen 30% this year. The firm's lowest ever viewing figures were in October last year when just three were registered.

Last week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Wales housing market figures showed estate agents in Wales had seen sales numbers rise.

It found estate agents typically sold 17 properties each in the previous three month. In the previous three months, estate agents recorded an average of 14 sales each. The figure was as low as eight properties in January.

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