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Sittingbourne and Sheppey estate agents say house sales remain buoyant despite property boom slowing.

By Andy Gray

Although new figures show the property boom might be slowing, estate agents say business is still the best it has been for several years.

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.”

Sittingbourne High Street

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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