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First Positive Signs for 2012 Property

by Alison Feemantle

Now that the wave of predictions for the 2012 property market has died down, the first batch of actual figures are being released with some positive signs for the year ahead. Reports released this week indicate that the asking price for new properties released on to the market actually grew by 1.4%

Perhaps more significantly, there was an increase in potential buyer activity too with 27 per cent more internet searches performed than at the same time in 2011. While a figure of 1.4% in prices may not be enough to get too many experts excited, the 27% search increase is an impressive rise and may just lead to a more positive start to the year than many have predicted.

Property expert Selwyn Lim is certain that these figures are a positive indicator for the months ahead,

“Since the internet began, more people have been searching online and that trend is continuing,” Lim said. Nevertheless, I am sure some of it is a growth in people searching for property in general.”

Mr Lim did however warn that while these figures were welcome in a period where the forecast is generally a gloomy one, the market should guard against what he referred to as ‘excessive optimism’.

One of the problems with regards to moving the market forward is the continuing issues that new buyers have in obtaining a mortgage. The predictions that were produced at the end of 2011 hinted that this situation could be set to get worse as criteria tightens and the ever decreasing window for sub-prime lending continues to close.

Meanwhile, some property experts have been highlighting the value of hybrid mortgages this week while suggesting that they could increase in popularity during 2012. A hybrid mortgage starts its life as a tracker before ending as a fixed rate, thereby giving the borrower the ‘best of both worlds’ according to its supporters.

Catherine Hearnden, director at MyMortgageDirect said that a mortgage of this kind could be a perfect solution for any borrower who is undecided over which path to take.

“People are not keen on fixing now because rates are low and everyone has got it in their head that rates will increase. You have got the benefit now of a tracker, but you know that your rate will not increase between years three to five,” she said.

Hearnden also went on to say that many are unaware of the hybrid’s existence.

“It is quite a new thing, so I shouldn’t imagine that people do know they are out there. Certainly when we ever talk to anyone about them, it is not something that they were expecting,” she added.

A hybrid mortgage may not help those that are struggling to get funds in the first place but they could be a solution to help convert the increase in property searches into confirmed sales.

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