Estate agents in Northampton have claimed latest figures showing house prices remain significantly down on last year are misleading and do not necessarily mean the housing market is not showing signs of recovery.
Property prices in Northamptonshire neither rose nor fell during July, with average prices almost 18 per cent down on the same time last year, according to the latest figures from the Land Registry.
But property experts in the town say the figures are out of date and claim the market is bearing up well compared to recent months.
Nick Horne, sales director at estate agents Merrys, said: "I would say the market has picked up since April. We've definitely seen an increase in buyers and houses have been selling a lot quicker than they were. People are paying 10,000 to 15,000 more for an average two bedroom Victorian terrace than they were earlier in the year.
"I think the figures are out of date, due to the fact it takes two to three months for prices to be registered with the Land Registry."
Paula Scinaldi, branch manager at Harrison Murray, said: "We've had a very good three months of steady prices and we're getting quite close to asking prices now. There is still a shortage of properties but whenever we're putting things on they're selling quite quickly.
"We're also starting to see first time buyers and investors coming back into the market.
"People are more confident to buy now. Whereas they're taking a bit of a drop off their own property, they're getting the difference off a more expensive property, so it's better for them. From that point of view it's a good time to move. Lenders are lending again and we've had no problems with people getting mortgages."
Rob Turton, of The Agents, said: "Certainly a lot of people out there at the moment feel the market has bottomed out. People are seeing that everything has dropped and thinking it's a good time to jump on and buy.
"The average property we take on is selling within three or four viewings and first time buyers that were sitting on the fence are now starting to buy.
"I think we are in the initial stages of things looking up. Houses are starting to sell and people are actually looking at the market now and consciously deciding to buy."