Essex: Property market booming say estate agents

For sale signs. Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire For sale signs. Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire

Saturday, May 10, 2014
10:09 AM

The property market in Essex is booming according to estate agents.

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New data from the Beresfords group shows competition for new properties is higher than ever with nearly 7,000 buyers registered with them looking for their ideal home.

There is an average of 12 new buyers registered for every property on the market putting even more emphasis on the need for more homes to satisfy demand.

Beresfords agreed sales of property worth £80million across the county last month, highlighting that what comes onto the market sells quickly.

The Haart branch in Wivenhoe has also seen a rise of 66% of prospective buyers registering, with a similar increase of 42% in Clacton - but only five per cent in Chelmsford.

In Colchester, Haart figures report there are 21 applicants per property available.

The rise in demand has been put down to national initiatives such as Help to Buy and continued investment in Essex such as town centre regeneration.

Paul Beresford, chairman and managing director of Beresfords, said: “We are seeing a surge in demand to live in Essex. At the moment we are arranging about 3,000 property viewings a month and confidence has definitely returned with Help to Buy and attractive mortgage rates being key factors.

“However the supply of properties coming onto the market has not seen the same level of growth and, as a result, competition for property remains high.

“Properties are being snapped up very quickly so buyers really need to move fast. Many buyers are recognising the advantages of putting themselves in the best possible position and getting the best price on their own property by having a sale agreed on their house and a mortgage in place before they even start looking for their new home so that they can move quickly.

“We are also finding vendors are increasingly favouring discreet marketing when putting their property on the market, so buyers need to be in regular contact with agents and not just search on the property portals. Some properties don’t get that far.”

Paul Meikle, valuer and negotiator at Essex Country & Village Homes based in Thorpe-le-Soken, added: “Last month we had probably one of the best months in a long time, with a lot of buyers paying closer to or at the asking price, and sometimes more.

“If you go back to 2007 we were getting far more enquiries, we are not back to those sorts of levels.

“But we are 50% better than a year ago, which is a significant improvement.

“The £250-300,000 range in particular is going quickly, with a shortage of cheaper properties. Homes in the higher price bracket are not doing so well.

“A four-bedroom semi-detached home in Little Bentley had four viewers within two days and was sold the next day.

“There is very little property coming onto the market and this shortage is driving demand.

“Nationally there are reports of a boom, but this weakens as you move away from London.

“I would not say it is a boom here yet, but it is an encouraging trend with more people registering to buy - particularly from people in London, which makes up around 70-80% of our buyers.”

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