A Northampton estate agent believes 2013 will be seen as “the year the recovery started in earnest,” after new figures showed July was the busiest month for home buyers in the East Midlands for four years.
Buyers in the region returned to the market in their biggest numbers since July 2009, according to figures released yesterday by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The RICS say the summer spike follows a trend which has been seen since the start of the year, with buyers gradually returning to test the market thanks to Government finance initiatives.
Northampton estate agent, Richard Greener, said his experiences tallied with the report’s findings - but sounded a cautionary note about the Government’s involvement in the market.
Mr Greener said: “We have been rushed off our feet since January. Sales are back up to pre-crash volumes from 2006 and 2007.
“It is down to a combination of factors. Part of it is the Government’s help to buy scheme - interest-free loans for first-time buyers.
“In the new homes market, the Treasury will give you a loan for five years, and the rest of it you can borrow from a bank at a low interest rate. That is going to cause a spike.
“It is an artificial spike, which is not good news. The Government is meddling in the free market. The only thing that will keep it going is a sustainable economic recovery.
“But 2013 will probably go down as the year the recovery started in earnest.”
Asked if it is sustainable, Mr Greener said: “It depends how well the Government and the Bank of England manage it. I think they should be very circumspect about how much money they put in.”
Regarding lettings, Quentin Jackson-Stops, from Jackson-Stops & Staff, in Bridge Street, Northampton said: “Demand remains strong for village and country properties in which we specialise. Supply has not met demand in recent months for cottages and smaller homes.”
The RICS survey also showed prices in the region rose at the fastest rate since May 2004, and every region of the UK saw growth, but the number of homeowners putting their property on the market only rose marginally.
Looking ahead, 42 per cent of surveyors are predicting prices across the region are going to continue to rise, and 53 per cent expect sales to rise rather than fall over the coming three months.