Monday, November 09, 2009

Property market has bottomed - it's official

As Disraeli (and then later Mark Twain) said: "There are lies, damned lies and statistics" and boy does the UK property industry thrive on market data.

Every day we seem to be bombarded by forecasts from the government, estate agents, developers, building societies and Uncle Tom Cobbley.

At last though I've found a statistic that I trust because it comes straight from the horses mouth - those searching for property.

Bickey Russell is an analyst at Google and she's recently been talking about the way that the general public searches for property online.

Ms Rusell says that the public believes the days of the bargain are numbered, with queries relating to bargain properties, such as ‘repossessed homes’, ‘property auctions,’ and ‘cheap properties’, down by 55 percent since February.

She has all kinds of other statistics but it's this little gem that strikes a chord with me.  The number of property transactions is all about confidence. 

If Joe Public thinks that the market has bottomed (and clearly Joe does) then they're going to start buying again.

I know this sounds ultra simplistic (because it is) but I place more store in this single stat than all the bumph that gets released by the RICS, NEA or the agents/banks who all have not very well hidden agendas.

Ms Russell also says that the first half of 2009 saw unique visitors to property sites up 15 percent. In the same period searches for the term ‘house prices’ rose 28 percent (having seen falls in 2008) and general queries related to property were up 11 percent.

So there we have it - the recovery has long it will take before transaction numbers rise consistently month on month nobody knows, but it's 9th November 2009 and I'm calling the bottom of the market.

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