Estate agents across Suffolk say sales are "well down" amid soaring inflation and a national cost of living crisis.

The news comes as interest rates stand at their highest level for 14 years and follows financial turmoil caused by the former government's mini-budget policies.

"We have had a difficult couple of months," said Oliver Johnson, a partner at the Framlingham-based Clarke & Simpson.

East Anglian Daily Times: Oliver Johnson of Clarke & SimpsonOliver Johnson of Clarke & Simpson (Image: Clarke & Simpson)

"Inflation, rising interest rates and the mini-budget have hit the market hard. 

"We don't know the specific numbers, but I'm expecting numbers to be well-down from last year."

Research conducted by Nested has found that, when compared to this time in 2021, the typical UK estate agency branch will have seen a drop in sales of 27% in the year to December 2022.

In September, house prices were predicted to plunge as rising interest rates looked set to wipe 28% off the amount mortgage companies are willing to lend buyers.

East Anglian Daily Times: Housing sales were predicted to plunge as a result of rising interest ratesHousing sales were predicted to plunge as a result of rising interest rates (Image: PA)

Last week saw the Bank of England raise the benchmark rate from 3% to 3.5% - the highest level for 14 years in a bid to tackle soaring inflation.

It was the ninth consecutive hike since December 2021 and followed the Bank's decision to announce the largest single increase since 1989 in November.

East Anglian Daily Times: UK interest rates are currently at their highest level for 14 yearsUK interest rates are currently at their highest level for 14 years (Image: PA)

"We have been feeling the impact of this on the market a lot during the last quarter," added Mr Johnson.

"When we look back, I think we'll realise we've had quite a drop off from last year.

"I don't know if it will be 27% but I'm confident they will be down."

Tim Dansie is the director of Ipswich-based Jackson-Stops, which specialises in high-end property.

"There has been a noticebale drop off in activity," he said.

East Anglian Daily Times: Tim Dansie of Jackson-StopsTim Dansie of Jackson-Stops (Image: Jackson-Stops)

"With everything that is happening at the moment, it is understandable that people will be thinking 'let's hold off and see where this is going'.

"This time of year tends to be quiet anyway, but when you combine that with interest rates and inflation, buying property will not be at the top of most people's lists."