Estate agents have optimism despite house prices decline

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County estate agents say the housing market is in the best state it has been for years, despite the latest figures showing an annual drop in the prices paid for homes.

New figures from the Land Registry show that prices paid for houses in Northamptonshire fell by 1.5 per cent in the past year, with the average home selling for £172,378.

The numbers for the period January to March also show a quarterly drop of 5.3 per cent, with prices in East Northamptonshire and Corby slumping.

But Northamptonshire National Association of Estate Agents spokesman Charles Orlebar, said: “Estate agents are reporting that there is a good market out there at the moment and if you have a house that is sensibly priced it will sell.

“If you are able to buy a house, now is the time to do it.

“Mortgages are more readily available than they have ever been.

“The gatekeepers of the market are the lenders. As long as you can borrow money you are able to buy a house, and that availability of borrowed money has improved over the past few years.

“What is out there is selling, but we’re underselling the market as there is only about 25 per cent of available property on the market.

“The statistics refer to property details that were agreed in the winter quarter, which traditonally is the weakest performing quarter in the year.”

East Northamptonshire saw a huge drop of 12 per cent - the highest in the county - with homes now selling on average for £173,409.

But prices in Wellingborough have increased by 10 per cent in the same period.

Martin Pendered, director of Martin Pendered & Co in Wellingborough, said: “We’ve just had the best quarter of sales since the market collapsed.

“It’s been really busy over the past three or four months, we’ve been able to sell property as quickly as they come on the market.

“Asking prices have crept up a little bit, and I think it is a buyer’s market, but it’s getting much closer to being a balance.

“I think we’re through the worst of it now and the overall picture is significantly better than last year.”

With a quarterly drop of 11.1 per cent, Corby is the cheapest place to live in the county, with the area’s average home selling for £117,662.

Daniel Branston, sales negotiator at William H Brown’s Corby branch, said: “The market is bouyant and we’re having our best period for years.

“But the prices people are paying have gone right down.

“Houses are selling at 10 per cent less than the vendors are asking for, and we’re trying to educate vendors on what price to expect.

“What is reasonably priced is selling.”

Kettering homes sold on average for £146,874 in that period, with prices having a quarterly drop of 1.3 per cent.

Justin Caulfield, team sales negotiator at the Burton Latimer branch of Simpson and Partners, said: “At the moment we’re doing fabulously, we’re having our best year for ages.

“The fact is, there isn’t as much choice at the moment, but what is coming on the market is getting swamped.

“I don’t think prices are rising, but they aren’t dropping dramatically either.”

Homes in South Northamptonshire sold on average for £236,429, the highest in Northamptonshire, with Daventry a close second with £221,116.

The average home in Northampton sold for £156,338 in January to March.

We asked our Facebook friends to share their experiences of the housing market.

Marie Landon said: “Our estate agents sold our house within two days.

Tracy James, of Rothwell, said: “Our house has been on the market for two years now.

“We don’t know why it can’t sell, it’s a big three-bedroom house.”

Carly Morson said: “We put ours on the market at the beginning of May, within 30 minutes we had our first viewing and sold to the same viewers in three days.

“We timed it just right, one week later we might not have sold it.”