Published: 15:00, 22 May 2013
Record low mortgage rates and buyer incentives have helped boost house sales at new Kent community Kings Hill to the highest level for seven years.
In the first three months of 2013, 28 new homes were sold at Kings Hill, built on a site of a former airfield, near West Malling and known as "the bubble" to many residents.
Marketing forum, Kings Hill New Homes, which announced the figures, said the early year sales were now equal to those before the economic downturn.
Andrew Blevins, of Kings Hill masterplanning developer Liberty Property Trust UK, said:
“Interestingly, the 2013 performance so far is 65% ahead of the same time last year, and double that of the first quarter of 2011 when 14 new homes were sold.
“All the homebuilders at Kings Hill are reporting a very strong start to the year with increased numbers of visitors to their sales offices and showhomes, resulting in great enquiries and sales.”
Jason Stokes of developer Taylor Wimpey, said low mortgage interest rates were a key feature helping sales.
He said: “Despite the poor weather in the first three months of the year, 2013 has started very positively. Buyers are increasingly attracted by the lifestyle on offer at Kings Hill, whether they are young professionals, young families or those who are downsizing but want access to high quality amenities. With the current low mortgage rates many feel that now is the right time to consider a move.”
Jo Richards of Hillreed Homes, which is now building its 14th development, Cathcart Gate, at Kings Hill, said a "wide choice" of buyer incentives including the government's new Help to Buy equity loan scheme were attracting a lot of interest.
Under the Help to Buy scheme, introduced on April 1, buyers of a new build home can take advantage of an interest free loan of 20% for the first five years. Three new sales were now going through under the Help to Buy scheme, she said.
She said: "Since Christmas, our sales have risen month on month, with 17 already sold or reserved."
And Jo believed the steady sales were helping stability in employing workers on site.
"Certainly we feel we are continuing to contribute to the number of builders being employed, many of whom have been with us for a considerable number of years. Their skills and familiarity ensure a smooth construction programme."
Other developers at Kings Hill are Bellway, Crest Nicholson, Environ and Ward Homes. All the developers are members of the marketing forum, Kings Hill New Homes.
7,000 residents and more than 200 businesses employing some 5,000 people. it is also home to an 18-hole golf course, cricket pitch, David Lloyd leisure centre, further recreation and sports amenities, schools and a village centre with shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as a surgery, veterinary practice and opticians.Kings Hill, which is set in 800 acres near West Malling, is home to around