Hunts housing market picking up pace

PROPERTY market activity has picked up strongly in Huntingdonshire in the last few months, but estate agents are divided over whether this is the start of a recovery. Vendors who price their homes realistically are selling them, according to Thomas Morris

PROPERTY market activity has picked up strongly in Huntingdonshire in the last few months, but estate agents are divided over whether this is the start of a recovery.

Vendors who price their homes realistically are selling them, according to Thomas Morris, which has branches across the district.

"As ever, it's very difficult to know which way things are going," senior partner Simon Bradbury told The Hunts Post this week. "All our branches have seen significant increases in activity and sales, and a greater number of properties are being sold at close to the asking price.

"The three most important things used to be location, location and location. Now they're price, price and price. If people are realistic, they will sell."

Sales are up 15-20 per cent on a year ago, a rate he believes is sustainable through the summer.

But Mr Bradbury fears the level of activity could fall away again in the autumn as unemployment and the fear of unemployment start to impact on the market.

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"There's a question mark over unemployment, which may have an impact towards the end of the year. And fear of unemployment often prevents people from making moves," he explained.

House prices are "bumping along," he added. "I don't see increases at the moment. There's a little movement upwards here and a little downwards there."

Mr Bradbury is sticking to his prediction in The Hunts Post earlier in the year that the property market will start to recover robustly in around a year's time.

"I don't see GDP getting back to its previous growth rate until we come out of technical recession in the middle of next year."

But at Peter Lane's St Ives office, manager Damien McGrath is less cautious.

"It's a lot better now than three months ago. The last three months have been the best we have had for 18 months, and May was our best month since October 2007."

There was also some evidence of prices starting to recover, because demand was starting to outstrip supply in the town, he said.

"The market has already picked up, and there are signs that it will continue. If people are thinking of moving, now is the time, before prices and credit costs go up. At the moment people are delaying putting their houses on the market instead of capitalising on some decent mortgage deals," he added.

BOX: Find your next home in our property pages starting on Page 37. You can also search online by visiting www.huntspost24.co.uk and clicking on Homes24.

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