Couple of anecdotal additions to this . . . just dotting Is and crossing Ts ahead of completing on my new place next week, so buttonholed my solicitor (lead conveyancing partner for one of the largest Newcastle firms) and asked him what he thought about the housing market right now. His position chimed somewhat with my EA's (he hates EAs, by the way) — he reckons the market is busy for the time of year, if marginally down on this time in 2005, with the balance of business swinging away from BTL to OOs. One interesting observation from him was that the few BTL deals he is handling are "back to the traditional Tyneside flats", with nothing doing on the new builds which apparently had him hectic last year. He also sees no sign of house prices in Newcastle heading in either direction in the short-term, but sounded mildly bullish beyond that.
One other thing, of personal interest if nothing else, the "flipper" who bought my place off-plan and sold it on to me will be clearing <£10K on the deal after costs/charges/taxes etc.