"Cash is chasing homes in picture perfect places," writes Fred Redwood in today's Bricks and Mortar.
By Fred Redwood
The property market, we are told, is dead. The latest figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors show that prices continue to drop, resulting in average sales per agent falling to a record low - a miserly 9.9 per agent in the three months to January.
Estate agents have a large number of homes on their books - an average of 75.4 per office. However, lack of mortgage finance means that the majority of these are gridlocked.
Yet this is far from being a terminal tale. Go to the office of Lillicrap Chilcott in Truro, for example, and you will find plenty of action. Little wonder: they have sold nearly £17.5 million of properties in the first seven weeks of 2009. On February 13 alone, they sold six houses in one day - as many as some agents sell in a quarter.
Who is buying in North Cornwall?
"Canny incomers who want to take advantage of sensible prices and the low interest rates," says estate agent Ian Chilcott (sic). "The second homes market is weak but we are seeing a lot of wealthy people making a permanent move down here, either to work from home or to semi-retire."
The properties that are flying off their books are the £400,000 to £600,000 period homes with creek views and good-quality properties in villages or on the edges of towns.