Suffolk: 2014 house market recovery ‘on the cards for county’

Chief executive Paul Winter

Chief executive Paul Winter - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s housing market is well down the road to recovery and homes are changing hands at a much higher rate, according to property experts.

Ipswich Building Society chief executive Paul Winter predicts prices locally will rise by a healthy 5% in 2014, taking them to above pre-recession levels, while a survey by estate agents William H Brown has found sales transactions are showing a marked 42% rise as the market gets fired up through the winter months.

The Brown’s survey found that the average price for a home in Suffolk dipped slightly in November by minus 1% compared to the previous month, but was up 4% on November 2012.

Mr Winter believes that despite the unexpected withdrawal of the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme for housing loans amid fears of a housing bubble, homes locally will see a steady and sustained rise in values through next year.

“I think we are in an interesting time. Everybody is getting very excited that we have turned the corner and everything is rosy,” he said. “In my own view, we are not in a bubble, there’s a reasonably good sign of steady growth and I would expect houses locally to go up by 5% in 2014. We are getting above the levels we were in 2008 which I think is a good place to be.”

However, he believes that the Government hasn’t got to grips with the problem of too few houses being built and he believes interest rates will rise, although not substantially, next year.

“For us that won’t happen because although we have drawn down on Funding for Lending we have not relied on it,” he said. “You have got some rates that are under 2% for a two year fixed, and I think they will disappear.”

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William H Brown’s latest Suffolk Housing Market Index found that Suffolk sales transactions rose by 42% annually, outstripping the national average of plus 32%.

Average Suffolk property prices rose by 4% annually to £171,523, while Ipswich prices increased by 13% annually to £208,114. Across the UK, average prices went up by 9% compared to November 2012, to take the average UK house price to £209,443.

Giles Hart, area director at William H Brown said Suffolk’s property market was “very buoyant” moving into the winter months.

“Demand is far outstripping supply across the county with new buyer registrations growing at more than three times the rate of new property supply,” he said.

Bury St Edmunds was currently seeing very high levels of demand, , increasing at five times the rate of property supply, and the town was “increasingly popular”, he added.