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Kent house prices soar according to Ward & Partners report on property market

By Chris Britcher

House prices in Kent are rising far faster than neighbouring counties, according to a major report into the marketplace by a leading estate agent.

In its report on the first half of the year, Arun Estates - which runs the Ward & Partners estate agency throughout Kent - says Kent's property is outpacing others in the South East.

Comparing July to December 2017 with January to June 2018, house prices in Kent rose by 4.4%.

Ward & Partners report sheds light on the marketplace
Ward & Partners report sheds light on the marketplace

That compared to 3.16% for Essex, 2.69% for Surrey and 0.9% for Sussex.

The average price rise for the south east was 2.94%.

In the same report, it also warned landlords thinking of getting out of the rental market to hang on as greater yields could be just around the corner.

But the experts have warned "price correction" is needed in the market and that price increases are slowing.

Housing prices are on the rise across the county
Housing prices are on the rise across the county

Explains Aldo Sotgiu, managing director of operations at the property firm: "The accepted wisdom is that if you price your property correctly to begin with you stand a much better chance of achieving the best possible sale price, so it is important for sellers not to be drawn into thinking marketing a property at a higher price to start with is going to result in a higher sale price.

"What’s more important is sensible pricing to create as much buyer interest as possible.

"Higher available housing stocks and similar demand points towards some price correction needed in the market, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Granted, if you sell your home in a rising market you will get more for it but you will also have to pay more for the next one.

"In short, house price increases are slowing down; the number of available properties is higher and, whilst buyer activity is still strong, some price correction is needed in the market.

"There are lots of other factors that affect buyer and seller confidence – what remains a constant, is people needing somewhere to live."

When it comes to rental, the south east sits behind only Greater London when it comes to average prices.

"House price increases are slowing down; the number of available properties is higher and, whilst buyer activity is still strong, some price correction is needed in the market..." - Aldo Sotgiu, Ward & Partners

London commands £1,586 a month with the south east £1,008.

Jason Bunning, senior director of lettings, said: "It will come as no surprise that buy-to-let landlords of all kinds – accidental and professional – are starting to consider, in the face of seemingly never-ending new legislation and regulation, leaving the buy-to-let arena.

"We see signs of this growing but would advise some caution at this stage.

"There are a number of factors to consider.

"Tenant numbers are over 10% up and only likely to increase as nil deposit schemes become more widespread, allowing people to rent without a hefty lump sum.

"In addition, the tenant fee ban for agents likely to come into force early next year will make it even easier to rent.

"Against a backdrop of contracting available rental stock, the law of supply and demand could lead to greater rental yields for those that hold their nerve.

"With few better investments out there currently and the punitive costs of re-entering the market posed by the stamp duty surcharge, cashing in at this stage could be a costly mistake to rectify."

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