INTEREST in the housing market jumped sharply in March as buyers looked for pre-Easter bargains, research indicated today.
The number of new buyers registering with estate agents rose to an eight-month high of 290 during March, up from 268 in February, according to the National Association of Estate Agents.
The group attributed the jump to buyers hoping to pick up a good deal on a property before the traditionally busy Easter selling period started.
However, agents warned that many homeowners were still being overly optimistic and pricing their properties too high.
Locally, Kerry Applin, director at Chapplins Estate Agents in Havant, agreed.
He said: ‘Many sellers, buyers and agents reported a tough start to 2011 but things are looking up.
‘The key is “keen and realistic” prices. There are buyers out there and they will buy, as long as the prices are right.
‘Motivated vendors are accepting sensible offers and negotiating hard on their prices.
‘Competitive pricing is a key issue.
‘Historically more transactions take place over the April and May period no matter what market conditions are.’
With buyers still struggling to raise the mortgages they need to go ahead with a purchase, this approach has contributed to a rise in the number of unsold properties estate agents have on their books during the past year.
The typical estate agent was marketing 68 properties last month, up from an average of 60 in March 2010, although the figure was down slightly from 70 in February.
The number of agreed sales held steady at an average of eight per branch.