Felixstowe: Town named nation’s top home sales hotspot

Resort tops property hotspots

A SEASIDE town has become the country’s home sales hotspot, according to new property figures.

A survey of the 500 largest postal towns and boroughs found that Felixstowe saw a 60% rise in home sales during the first six months of 2012 - the biggest increase recorded in England and Wales.

The seaside resort topped the list of 324 towns - 65% of 500 tracked - to record a rise in home sales compared with the first six months last year.

According to Lloyds TSB, the rises have been helped by improvements in affordability, with house prices in the 10 biggest property sales “hotspots” falling by 7% over the past four years.

Felixstowe finished top of the list despite homes being less affordable than properties in areas like Salford, where the biggest drop in home sales was recorded over the past year.

Overall, there were 282,086 home sales in England and Wales in the first half of 2012 - 2.2% higher than in the same period in 2011.

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House prices in Felixstowe stand at an average of 5.1 times local yearly earnings, compared to the average multiple of 7.1 among the 10 towns that recorded the largest falls in property sales over the same period.

Nigel Papworth, senior partner with Felixstowe estate agent Diamond Mills & Co, said: “There has always been a feeling that the town lagged a bit behind places like Aldeburgh and Southwold but there is now a sense of improvement.

“Sea defence work just completed to the promenade means that those properties are protected from erosion.

“Felixstowe is a pleasant seaside environment, with employment at the docks and further up the road at BT in Martlesham.”

But, while the beginning of the year saw a rush of people looking to complete deals before the end of stamp duty concession, the market has lately seen signs of slowing, with borrowing for homebuyers falling 10% last month from August’s two-year high.

Mr Papworth added: “Traditionally, the market eases at this time of year. Interest rates on mortgages remain pretty good but people are still up against it with the recession.

“That said, prices are relatively stable and buyers are attracted to the sea view. We are starting to see a few more second home owners.”

Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of property sales hotspots with more than three quarters of all towns surveyed recording an increase.

The south west came a close second, followed by the south east. The north of England had the lowest proportion of sales hotspots, with little more than a quarter of towns seeing a rise in sales.

Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB housing economist, said: “It is encouraging that the number of towns across England and Wales seeing a rise in home sales has increased significantly over the past year.

“This highlights the very mixed state of the housing market at a local level compared with the rather subdued picture at a national level. Many of the top performing towns are in areas where improved levels of affordability over recent years have helped support demand for those able to enter the housing market.”

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