It is normally the chunky click of a mouse that determines which websites can claim to be at the top of the online leagues, rather than X-Factor style votes.
For it is these clicks, driven by the millions of people who visit websites every day across a huge spectrum of online activity – from anagram solvers to xylophone sales – that create the juicy data needed by number crunchers to rank websites with.
So it makes a change when sites are instead sized up by their users and here at FindaProperty.com we’re proud to have won the UK’s favourite property portal gong following a vote by 850,000 people for the 2009 Website of the Year awards.
And we are in illustrious company too. Other winners include ITV.com, Arsenal.com, BBC.co.uk and Topgear.com.
For a full list of the winners go to: www.bit.ly/82Rum2
January 4th already?! Yikes, where does the time go?
To mark the passing of the year, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the property market’s winners and losers in 2009.
And this being January, we’re serving up two graphs for the price of one … the regional risers and fallers and the best and worst of ten major cities.
This week’s graph comes from our research team, whose MyHomeLife survey regularly polls our visitors to find out how they see the housing market.
Back in May – just as prices were beginning to pick up again – they were pretty downbeat. Only 11 per cent thought prices were recovering while 23 per cent expected them to keep falling.
By August – no doubt in response to several months of positive reports – 18.7 per cent felt prices were on the rise while 17.9 per cent expected them to keep falling.
The most recent wave of research was carried out in November and found that 30 per cent thought prices were rising while just 12.8 per cent thought they would keep falling.
Looking further ahead, 45.5 per cent expect the market to stabilise over the next six months.
This is somewhat at odds with the gloomier predictions for 2010, but it does accurately reflect the surprising recovery this year.
Can it continue? Our users seem to think it can, but only if there’s more money available at the bottom end: 84 per cent think a full recovery will depend on greater mortgage availability to first-time buyers.
With this in mind, it’s worth noting that lending levels, while still low, have risen significantly over the year (from a low of 27,294 in November 2008 to 57,345 in October 2009).
The latter half of 2009 surprised us all; if this lending trend continues, could 2010 also prove to be a better year than many pundits are predicting? Your thoughts, please!
For over three decades now we’ve been a nation gripped by house price ups and downs, famously keen to discuss the subject at dinner parties, bars and work.
And quite right too. There are half a dozen UK house price indices available these days – including our own one – each offering a snapshot of the market. And happily for home owners they answer a simple question – ‘how much is my property worth’?
But buy abroad and it’s much harder to find this out. The official index in Spain, for example, has been heavily criticised. Spanish property expert Martin Dell of Kyero.com is sceptical of its accuracy, referring recently to the “garbage that the Spanish government continues to produce”.
While most agents on Spain’s Mediterranean coast admit prices have dropped by 20 per cent from their 2007 peak, official figures show a drop of just six per cent – which big guns including Reuters, the International Monetary Fund and several Spanish banks have cast doubt on.
A report by a leading consultancy showed a drop of nine percent on the Costas over the past 12 months alone – so how can the official Spanish figures be so far from the what most people on the ground say is the truth?
But the lack of information is nothing compared to some other popular overseas buying hotspots – if you own a property in any of the East European states (particularly Bulgaria), Cape Verde, Brazil – I could go on – then house price data is non-existent or difficult to find.
All I can say is this: if you ever feel the need to scoff at indices and some people’s obssession with house prices, then pause to consider how lucky we are to have so much information.
Dull though it may seem sometimes, it enables buyers in the UK to make informed decisions in a more transparent market – unlike the Spanish.