Suffolk housing market boom

LOW interest rates and a rise in affordability have sparked a renewed confidence in Suffolk's housing market.According to local estate agents interest and activity in the market has surged since the start of the year, especially with first time buyers.

LOW interest rates and a rise in affordability have sparked a renewed confidence in Suffolk's housing market.

According to local estate agents interest and activity in the market has surged since the start of the year, especially with first time buyers.

The Bank of England announced the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has jumped 19pc in February.

Across the UK a total of 37,937 loans were approved for people buying a home last month, the highest level since May last year, according to the new figures, released yesterday.

Dramatic cuts in interest rates and recent steep house price falls are partly responsible for attracting more people into the market place, say local experts.

But for the first time in years renting has become more expensive than buying property, a leading Ipswich based estate agent said and coupled with that more first time buyers are accessing the market.

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Charlie Wright, a partner at Fenn Wright who also has offices in Colchester said the biggest impact has come from people moving from rented properties into the buying market.

'We have had a huge surge of interest this year,' he said. 'We have been selling over one house a day since the start of the year.

'It is a combination of spotting a good opportunity, better affordability, a return of 90pc mortgages.

'But people coming out of rented homes and moving into the market place is accounting for the biggest surge.'

He added that more first time buyers were getting a foot on the ladder, taking advantage of more affordable house prices.

'We tend to be spending more time with first time buyers coming into the market place,' he said. 'Deposits are the hardest things for first time buyers but we are seeing parents helping out.

'I think the market is really doing well in the lower to middle market rather than the middle to upper market as we are selling more affordable houses.'

James Bedford, a partner at Bedfords with offices in Bury St Edmunds and Aldeburgh said there has been a noticeable return of confidence but now there is a shortage of properties for sale.

'There are more people viewing properties and sales are on the increase,' he said. 'But at the moment we have a real shortage of good properties to sell; we have seen a rise in good buyers with money to spend.

'People are earning no interest on their money in the banks and at least in bricks and mortar you have an investment, if a bank goes bust you are left with nothing.

'There is a lot more confidence in the market, things are selling and they are selling well at the moment.'

Mr Wright added that the current trend is unlikely to continue because estate agents need more houses to sell.

He said: 'The volume of houses on the market has fallen sharply since the end of last year as buyers convert their interest into sales.

'There is a real shortage of new instructions at the moment, when you are selling around 30 houses a month we need to replace them, but unfortunately we are not getting many houses coming back on the market, stocks are down by about 40% compared with last summer's figures.'

James Neal, partner at Neal Sons and Fletcher based in Woodbridge said buyers have been more proactive translating into a boost in sales.

But Mr Neal remained cautious urging both sellers and buyers to remain realistic of the current climate.

'Sellers must fall in line with current day prices and buyers cannot expect to chip away at prices as much as they may have been able to in the past.'

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