BUYERS and sellers can look forward to 2013 in confidence, according to estate agents.
Many agents are upbeat about this year’s prospects after experiencing a better than average 2012.

The general view is that 2013 will herald a period of higher confidence in the housing market among buyers and sellers.

These predictions correspond with the latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveys (RICS), which reported a significant increase in homes coming up for sale and demand from prospective buyers in the last month of 2012.

Simon Ware, of Ware & Co, predicted increased buying activity from investors looking to snap up properties for the letting market as a way of ensuring their savings pay for themselves in a period of record-low interest rates.

“It is investors buying those one to two-bed properties who are taking the place of first-time buyers,” he said.

“As far as 2013 is concerned, you need a crystal ball, but if it carries on in the same vein I would imagine it will be a fairly steady street.

"There is definitely a confidence returning to the market, which has been sorely lacking for a few years now.”

He added that the firm has enjoyed a swell of interest in clients from the South-East and London, looking to relocate to the West Country for a rural lifestyle change.

This was echoed by Carl Johnson, associate at Chesterton Humberts, who added: “We are seeing a big shift in clients from the Home Counties, looking to upsize for their money and take advantage of our great schools.

“For us in 2012, August through to the end of the year was very productive and we had constant demand for properties in the £300,000 to £500,000 price bracket.”

The same can be said for Gibbins Richards, whose joint director Mark Gibbins said the firm achieved all its business targets for 2012.

He is looking forward to increased confidence among buyers this year, based on the views of independent mortgage advisers, who predict greater competition between high street lenders to sell products.

Ed Thorne, branch manager of Webbers in Taunton, said the company is enjoying a busy start to the new year off the back of strong interest in the final two months of 2012.

“Carrying forward my prediction is one of stability in the market,” he said. “Prices are not going to change rapidly, which from a vendor’s point of view is good for us.”