Property market 'leading UK out of the recession'

Unemployment in the UK might be at a 12-year high amid the ongoing problems caused by the recession, but property investors could have one foot on the road towards economic recovery.

According to Gary Smith, president of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the UK's professional body for estate agents, homeownership in the UK "seems to be set to lead the way out of the recession".

His comments follow research by the NAEA which showed that 299 house hunters were on a typical estate agent branch's books in May, up from 265 in April and 247 in May last year.

The survey also showed that the average branch sold ten properties last month – a 30 per cent increase year-on-year.

Mr Smith said low mortgage interest rates and "more realistic" property prices have contributed to the upward trend.

"This is really good news for the housing market and the UK economy in general," he commented.

"NAEA members are showing that there are buyers a-plenty out there. More often than not these are also potential sellers who are at the beginning of the process – so there is bound to be a lag which creates a shortage of properties in the short term."