's Weekly News Round Up – 22/02/2013

February 22nd, 2013

Most of the focus this week has been on the ever shifting world of property prices. Although progress still remains tentative, early figures released for January show optimism for the year ahead.

The Birmingham Post has reported that January has seen growth for house sales in the West Midlands, with the amount of homes brought to the market and newly agreed sales both increasing over the course of the month, despite viewings being hampered by the snow and unfavourable weather conditions.

The outlook for property values unfortunately matched the weather, with a third of chartered surveyors reporting price falls in the area and a fifth expecting a further drop in valuations. However, estate agent Andrew Grant remains optimistic on the whole, stating that all areas of the market have seen growth and supply seems to match demand, although mortgages are still being held back by strict lending criteria. has released its house price infographic for February, revealing an average increase of 2.8% nationally. East Anglia saw the smallest change, with prices rising 0.9% this month, but remaining down by 0.1% compared with this time last year. The area with the biggest annual rise outside Greater London is the North West – up 5.2% on last year, and the West Midlands saw the highest increase this month, mirroring evidence supplied by the RICS in the Birmingham Post.

More sellers are sticking to their asking price, according to Zoopla in The Independent this week, with an average rise of 6% in the number of asking prices holding firm nationwide. The town currently offering the biggest reductions is Romford in Kent, where the average price drop was just over a tenth of the asking price. Wigan currently has the highest total number of reduced properties, whereas vendors in Swansea appear to be standing their ground with the lowest proportion of reductions in asking price. Edinburgh has seen the lowest reductions on the whole, with an average price drop of 4.9%.

Fancy having a mini pub in your back garden to escape to? Rounding off this week’s news are the entrants to the 2013 Shed of the Year competition, featured in the Telegraph. With entrants including the afore-mentioned boozer, an eco-shed with a wildflower meadow on the roof and a shipshape tribute to the HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, there really is something for everyone here.

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