Signs of growth
SOME property experts are saying the worst of the storm may have passed, with one of this area's biggest estate agents, Peter Alan, notching up its most successful year for lettings in the past five years.
The group, which has 26 branches in the country, including in Swansea, Gorseinon, Morriston and Neath, has also reported a strong performance in residential property sales, which is up by three per cent, while lettings have been boosted by 37 per cent.
The figures outstrip the overall statistics for Wales, with the number of housing transactions holding firm during January, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) housing market survey, which was out last month.
Peter Alan's managing director Andrew Barry, who has worked for the company for 22 years, said it was a shot in the arm in hard times for the property market.
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And he was optimistic about the trends for this year.
"In what has been another tough year for the housing sector, Peter Alan has succeeded in bucking the trend — producing spectacular increases in both overall revenue and lettings and, bearing in mind the current market, a very encouraging rise in residential sales.
"There are signs in the early stages of 2013 that the housing sector is picking up again thanks in part to a number of initiatives introduced to kick-start the first-time buyer market, and we expect the numbers of residential sale completions to continue to increase as the year progresses.
"The lettings market is expected to show sustained growth due to a continuing surge in demand from would-be buyers having to remain in rented accommodation due to a shortfall in affordable property.''
Experts from RICS also suggested that the worst may be over, with demand from would-be buyers up slightly since the start of the new year, accompanied by a slight boost in the number of homes coming up for sale.
Last month, Welsh chartered survey- ors reported a slight increase in the number of newly agreed sales with a net balance of five per cent more stating that levels rose.
In tandem with this prices edged up during the first month of the year.
Along with other signs, this suggests that the very worst may be over for the market.
Looking ahead Welsh chartered surveyors are optimistic that the price stability seen in recent months will hold over the coming three months.
Tony Filice, RICS Wales Residential spokesperson and Director of Kelvin Francis Chartered Surveyors, Cardiff, said:
"There has been an increased number of news instructions, matched by a high level of viewings and those wanting to buy.
"An increase has been noted in the number for first time buyers purchasing, assisted by a number of mortgage lenders now offering 95 per cent loan-to-value advances. Prospects look good despite having lost a week through the snow.''