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Land Registry figures in May showed annual South East property prices rose by
8.4% – the highest increase of any UK region outside of London.
Last week, however, a Halifax survey revealed UK house prices fell by 0.6% between May and June – the fourth monthly decrease since last December – suggesting a levelling of the upward trend.
This is a theory supported by Ian Seagar, owner of Buckey and Ward Estate Agents in West Street, Sittingbourne.
He said: “Sales at the beginning of the year were phenomenal but it seems to have tapered off a little since the government’s new mortgage regulations.
“It means lenders are looking into an applicant’s lifestyle and what they spend as opposed to their income. The market’s gone a bit quiet but it’s still good.”
Mr Seagar said his firm’s property sales have increased between 7% and 10% on last year which was due in part to the government’s Help to Buy Scheme, as well as homeowners’ natural desire for change.
He said: “I’ve seen it so many times. It all goes quiet for a while then people get moving again.”
Supply catching up with demand might also be a reason for soaring house values slowing.
Lynne Collins, branch manager at Mann Countrywide Estate Agents in the Broadway, Sheerness, said: “There was a lack of property available on Sheppey which pushed prices up but there’s more now.
“Houses aren’t selling as quickly at the moment but this year, we’ve sold 100% of what’s come onto the market.
“It’s the first time in a long time we’ve had that sort of turnaround.”
Tracey Palmer, senior negotiator at Haart Estate Agents in High Street, Sheerness, said: “Sales have been buoyant for the past 12 months -– we’ve always been busy.”
And John Hawkesford, director of Sittingbourne estate agents, Hawkesford James, said he is optimistic the housing market’s current buoyancy can be sustained.
He said: “With rumours of Sittingbourne’s rejuvenation project starting as early as next year, the town will only become more desirable with out-of-area buyers.”
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