Open House Weekend attracts over 31,000 viewings

Estate Agents

Friday, June 3, 2011

Countrywide, the UK's largest estate agents and property services Group, are celebrating following the success of their debut National Property Showcase campaign, which took place on the 19th, 21st and 22nd May.

Over 17,000 properties, with a value of over £6bn, took part in the campaign, which included an exclusive Showcase event held at the Millennium hotel, Grosvenor Square, London and a National Open House weekend; where thousands of sellers across the UK opened their doors to keen buyers and conducted back-to-back viewings.

A record 31,000 viewings took place, organised by the UK's leading estate agents including John D. Wood, Bairstow Eves, Taylors, Abbotts, Mann Countrywide, Bridgfords and Frank Innes.

The London Showcase event began with a Breakfast Seminar for around 130 industry delegates who listened to informative and thought-provoking presentations from Grenville Turner (Chief Executive, Countrywide), Nigel Stockton (Financial Services Director, Countrywide), Adam Challis (Head of Research, Hamptons), Professor John Ratcliffe (Henley Business School) and Jackie Bennett OBE (Council of Mortgage Lenders).

The key points raised include:

·        House prices:The north/south divide is becoming much more pronounced as theLondoneconomy continues to support demand, whilst austerity measures are having a greater impact on the north. As a result, this gap is likely to widen in the short to medium term.

·        Realism in the market:In some cases, vendor house price expectations remain optimistic and not in line with the current market conditions. There is a mismatch of buyers' and sellers' expectations.

·        International Buyers:International buyers purchased 72% of properties sold in primeCentral Londonin the first quarter of 2011.

·        Mortgage market:The mortgage market will remain subdued in the short-term. 2011 is likely to be the fourth year of a 'half market' with approximately 600,000 transactions taking place.

·        New Build:Higher loan-to-value mortgages for new build properties should be raised to "move the market".

Opening to the public at midday until 8pm, over 200 visitors attended theLondonshowcase event to view available properties and attend a unique "taster" auction event at 2 o'clock, where 70% of the lots offered were sold. One lot even jumped £38,000 in less than 8 minutes!

Visitors also sought advice from the property and mortgage specialists that were on hand, with guidance provided to all buyers, from first-time buyers to small scale buy-to-let investors and large scale foreign investors looking to build UK property portfolios worth over £500m+.

Grenville Turner, Chief Executive at Countrywide, comments:

"We all need to be more innovative in order to deliver for our customers and drive a sustainable recovery in the property market. Our National Showcase campaign was a resounding success and offered sellers a unique opportunity to get their properties in front of serious buyers who were supported with expert advice on mortgages and surveys. And there was also advice for those looking to let or rent.

"With over 31,000 viewings conducted over the weekend and thousands of offers made, we can see that there is a high demand for properties all around theUK. Indeed, mortgage lending continues to be the biggest hurdle to accessing the housing market; however, we believe these constraints are beginning to ease and will do so further by early 2012, contributing to a sustained market recovery."

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