LAST year was a busy year with property in Exeter city.
In the £400,000 to £1million bracket property was selling well when brought to the market at a competitive guide price.
Pricing strategy was a key factor and this is set to remain so for the foreseeable future.
Savvy sellers who came on at the right level in 2012 achieved a sale far more quickly than those at a higher level, resulting in price reductions at a later stage and therefore causing protracted sales.
Buyers looking in this price range have tended to be professional couples or those with young children wanting family homes and also amateur developers looking to invest.
The property featured here off Howell Road sold within one week of being on the market at the guide price of £425,000, and all the viewers of this house were couples or investors.
Mortgage lending has finally increased, freeing up the market and vendors of three- to four-bedroom houses have been taking advantage of low rates to move up the ladder.
Borrowing an extra £200,000 has meant that for buyers having sold for £400,000 or so, many of the more desirable family homes in Exeter at the £650,000 level have been within reach - good news for those trading up, less so for those downsizing.
Properties between £1million to £2million and above have been moving at a slower pace, the stamp duty increase to five per cent on property over the £1million threshold has created an extra £10,000 fee on top of the £40,000 payable at four per cent.
Purchasers of these properties are tending to come from elsewhere in the UK, usually the south east, looking for an improved lifestyle.
The current situation is considered by many economists to be "the new normal" and homeowners appear now to be taking this on board.
Investing in a property used to bring guaranteed returns in the long term, this situation now has to be reassessed and those who bought at the top of the market in 2007 may still be waiting to see any growth for some time yet.
In these changing times, buyers have also become extremely price sensitive and are armed with more information than ever before, with access to internet data on pricing and comparable property.
They are also being incredibly cautious with regard to surveys and the conveyancing procedure, meaning houses are often taking longer to get to exchange.
Agents need to support this process by remaining on the ball after a sale is agreed and push sales through, an efficient solicitor is also essential.
This year is likely to be similar to last year with successful sales where properties are priced competitively.
The first couple of weeks of January have been busy with new sellers wanting to get their properties onto the market and buyers booking viewings, and we have already been instructed to market two properties in the city at around the £1million level this year.
There seems in general to be a greater acceptance of the long term economic situation and the knock-on effect this is having on the property market.
Exeter is also currently experiencing huge economic growth and prime areas in the city such as St Leonards and Pennsylvania have been less affected by the recession than other parts of the South West where property prices may have fallen significantly.
What with the arrival of John Lewis, the new Science Park and Sainsbury's Distribution centre, economic investment is increasing the need for quality homes.
This, along with the already established businesses such as the Met Office, the Peninsula Medical School and the excellent private schools, means there is continued demand for property in the city.