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To buy or not to buy

Now is a “cracking time” to buy a property.

That is the view of one estate agent in Maidstone, despite the release this week of gloomy figures on property sales throughout the South East.

A report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found the average number of transactions per estate agent in the South East over the past three months was just 11, the lowest rate since records began in 1978.

This is slightly lower than the national figure, which stands at 12.7 transactions over the three months.

Chartered surveyor David Parry, of Cluttons, Maidstone, said in his contribution to the report: “There is very little confidence in the market and the few agreed sales are all vulnerable to collapse.

“The outlook appears grim but increasing realism amongst vendors may help improve sales rates in the future.”

But sales executive Rob Brady from Connells in King Street, Maidstone, said his firm had seen slight improvements recently.

He admitted the market was nothing like as buoyant as it was this time last year, but said properties were moving, as long as the price was right.He reported having four sales going through this week alone, and said this month’s sales were heading towards double figures.

He said: “If it is the right price then it will go. We put one property on last week, had 15 viewings and eight offers and it has already gone for above the asking price.”

Mr Brady said the number of repossessions and new builds on the market meant there were a lot of good deals around.

He said: “I think it’s a cracking time to buy at the moment.

“We’ve also been seeing a lot of investors coming out of the woodwork in the past few weeks.”

None of the other Maidstone estate agents we approached was prepared to comment.

Paul Hogarth, partner at estate agency Knight Frank, which has branches in Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells agreed there was a good appetite for some new build homes.

He said: “New build developers are very good at creating purchase plans, ways of helping people move. Part exchange is very useful and remains popular.”

What do you think? Is it a good time to buy a property? Write to messengernews@tehkmgroup.co.uk or Kent Messenger, 6&7 Middle Row, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1TG.

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