Local recovery in housing market

RESEARCH showing Exmouth house prices free-falling by a fifth in just six months have been disputed by local estate agents. Statistics published this week show that 'asking prices' for properties have fallen by 21 per cent from the summer to Christmas.

RESEARCH showing Exmouth house prices free-falling by a fifth in just six months have been disputed by local estate agents.Statistics published this week show that 'asking prices' for properties have fallen by 21 per cent from the summer to Christmas.But agents say, compared to January, there are definite signs of recovery - and a drop of 10 to 15 percent is a more accurate reflection.The national report highlighted 16 towns in the UK where prices fell by more than 20 per cent - with Exmouth the only one in the Westcountry listed.They include stockbroker belt towns such as Windsor and tourist hubs like Kendal - but the steepest falls were in Blackpool, of 28 per cent.But the figures were disputed by Lorna Brooks, sales manger for Right Move in Rolle Street: "I would say that 21 per cent is a bit excessive, I would have said it's more like 15 per cent."Since January things have certainly picked up - I was away for six weeks, came back and noticed there was an increase in viewings. "Exmouth is still a very desirable place to move to and, if you have a decent deposit, there are some great deals out there."Mike Dibble, a director at Bradleys, who is selling flats at Exmouth Marina, said that sales last year had dipped - but mostly because many had a �400,000 price tag: "House prices fell back last year. The generally agreed amount was about 15-17 per cent..."The positive is that the market has been so much better this year. "Far, far more people are registering to buy a property. Sales are improving month on month."Exmouth estate agent Bruce Penny said: "Twenty one per cent? I don't recognise that figure."The asking price is very different from the selling price and I would say that asking prices have fallen by more like 10 to 15 per cent. "The figures are over six months, and you may find, over the next six months, the figures will even out, so 2009 might not be as bad as people first think. "There is definitely an increase in current activity."Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: "The NAEA's own figures revealed that, since January, first-time buyers are coming back to the market, with enquiries up by about 20 per cent."This confidence has also been reflected in the publication of January's lending figures by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.


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