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Cautious hope as house prices rise

PUBLISHED: 12:45 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:50 06 July 2010

AVERAGE house prices in Suffolk have risen by more than £5,000 in the last three months - giving hopes of recovery in the property market.

Official Land Registry figures reveal that the Babergh district saw the most impressive change as the average house price rose by almost £15,000.

AVERAGE house prices in Suffolk have risen by more than £5,000 in the last three months - giving hopes of recovery in the property market.

Official Land Registry figures reveal that the Babergh district saw the most impressive change as the average house price rose by almost £15,000. Ipswich and Waveney were the only areas where there was a marginal drop in the value of property.

Meanwhile, the year-on-year drop in prices eased in July compared with June, with the East of England average fall now standing at 12pc.

Estate agents have welcomed a recent upturn in trade but have urged buyers and sellers not to celebrate prematurely and warned against the ambiguity of statistics.

James Bedford, partner at Bedfords Estate Agents, with offices in Bury St Edmunds, Burnham Market and Aldeburgh, said: “Since spring we have had a tremendous three or four months and sold a number of properties that would have previously beyond our wildest dreams.

“In one case we sold a cottage which was on the market at £485,000, and in which three people were interested, for £520,000. But that is not typical of the market and averages are very dangerous things.

“Vendors have adjusted to new price levels, while purchasers who were previously sitting on the fence have come off the fence.

“Values are currently underpinned by a shortage of new stock, so in general we haven't seen overall average prices go up.

“Things are selling and we don't want to talk the figures down but the market is still very price-sensitive.

“One or two vendors have actually lost sales over a difference of £5,000 because they heard prices have gone up.”

Colin Girling, Ipswich estate agent and PR officer for the National Association of Estate Agents Suffolk branch, added: “There is still a shortage of property on the market in our neck of the woods. Prices are levelling out a bit but if a property does come in that is good and is priced correctly it will go very quickly.

“August was our best month since February and we hope September pans out in a similar way.

“There are no incentives to buy houses like the government scrappage scheme offered to car buyers and we still have a problem with first time buyers struggling to get mortgages.”

The Land Registry figures reflect all completed property transactions, by comparing the price of homes sold now with the price paid when sold previously, but excludes property transfers following a divorce.

Nationally, house prices in England and Wales jumped by 1.7pc during July, completing a third consecutive monthly price rise and taking the average property to a value of £155,885.

Similarly, the Nationwide building society's index, which is based on mortgage data, showed a 1.6pc hike in prices in August compared with July.

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