2009 proved to be a turning point in the property market, after a significantly quieter 2008.
Despite continual negative national media coverage, local areas such as Wilmslow continued to see people buying and selling property freely.

Jackson Barrett & Gass reported an annual increase in files opened of 43.2% in 2009 compared to 2008. Significantly, files opened were up 15.7% in 2009 when compared to 2007.

Sean Barrow, a local solicitor with more than 30 years experience of the property market says “The figures show a strong increase in activity from 2008, which isn’t that surprising. However, the increase from 2007 shows a strong rise, which could be attributed to the lower activity in 2008. Some people were either too worried, or unable to move in 2008.”

The housing market in 2009 also displays patterns not traditionally seen. March and May are ‘normally’ seen as the busy Spring months, with April remaining relatively quiet. However, Jackson Barrett & Gass opened 82.7% more files in April 2009 than 2008 and 130.4% more than April 2007.

Another unusual pattern was the combined months of July and August. The latter especially, is a holiday period which usually results in reduced property transactions. However, this period was 80.8% higher in 2009 than 2008, and 2.4% higher than 2007.

Sean comments “Again, the comparison figures with 2008 could be attributed to 2008 being the likely bottom of the market. However, the increase on 2007 does show a significant increase in transactions, especially as 2007 is widely regarded as part of the property ‘boom’.”

The last quarter is also viewed as traditionally quieter period with the run-up to the festive period. Again, 2009 has defied this pattern. Files opened in 2009 were 65.7% higher than 2008, and 125% higher than 2007.

Sean comments “This is the most revealing pattern, which showed a continued busy market right up until the festive break. The stamp duty holiday end and VAT changes can account for some of this, but my feeling is that this is a result of low activity from 2008.”

So what now for the local property market?

Sean comments “I imagine that the market may start a little slower in 2010 as consumers wait and see for further comment in the national press as to the general state of the economy.

Mortgage lenders are rumored to be increasing Standard Variable Rates (SVR) which could force/tempt people to look to move. The increase in prices in 2009 will hopefully also help some avoid negative equity, but obviously prices cannot continue to rise at the rate of 2009. I expect to see a slight rise in both activity and prices in 2010.”

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