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Estate agents buoyant at housing market

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The green shoots of recovery are beginning to show for the housing industry in the county.

John Oakley, chairman of the Kent branch of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said Kent agents are reporting the most successful month in terms of sales since February last year.

He said: "Now is definitely a good time to buy. The general trend is that enquiry levels are up, especially from first-time-buyers, and more and more people are in the market to move."

Statistics from HM Revenue & Customs indicate there has been a 40 per cent increase in house sales nationally between February and March, rising to 60,000.

Kent is broadly in line with this trend, according to Mr Oakley.

National figures released by the NAEA on Friday show the number of people hunting for a new home in March rose by 12 per cent.

These figures also show the number of house sales per agent increased to nine – the largest average figure in over a year.

A large proportion – 23 per cent - of sales were to first time buyers who are beginning to get their foot on the property ladder.

Keith Breading, managing director of WH Breading & Son, an independent estate agent in Faversham, agrees with the NAEA’s view.

Audio: Keith Breading of WH Breading & Son

He said: "There’s definitely been a marked improvement in this area. I’m sure it’s going to continue.

"I believe the pendulum is at its lowest point and it is about to swing back up again. Here in the south east the recovery is certainly beginning to happen."

Mr Breading agreed there were more first-time buyers getting a foot on the property ladder - but not without the help of their parents.

According to Mr Breading, sales for houses in the higher £500,000 bracket have also been on the increase, with more and more people renting who have previously sold their house the most interested.

"When something good is on the market it's surprising the amount of people who come out of the woodwork. They’ve sold their house a while ago and are now prepared to spend on a new property.

"We’ve made several top-end sales recently which have indeed been quite surprising."

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