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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Optimism as housing market begins to move

WEST Cumbria’s housing market is recovering, say estate agents.

Agents said they have recorded a recent rise in sales and believe a fall in house prices and the Government’s decision to put more pressure on banks and building societies to lend to buyers have helped the market to revive.

Janine Walker, branch manager of Your Move in Workington, said: “There hasn’t been a better time to buy over the last two or three years. The worst is probably behind us and 2009 will see the beginning of some recovery in the market.

“January and February have already been busier than expected with increased activity from buyers and in property rentals.”

She said the company’s sales figures had doubled between February 2008 and January 2009 and that one house in Workington went for over the asking price.

Mrs Walker said: “I can put a house on the market and within three days you have two buyers bidding on the property.”

Yvonne McKenzie, manager and valuer at the Workington branch of Tiffen estate agents, said that at a recent auction 19 out of 21 lots were sold.

“It was absolutely brilliant, and this is the way the market is going at the moment.”

She added that people are buying a variety of properties but quirky houses with a bit of character and two-up two-down terrace houses were proving to be particularly popular.

“Buying properties is a way of making their money work – it’s an investment.

“People are taking their money out of the banks because they are not getting a return,” she added.

Cynthia Hannah, sales manager at Grisdales in Cockermouth, said that since Christmas there had been an increase in sales and viewings.

She added that the trend should continue as long as mortgages were available and properties were marketed at a price that reflected the market.

Lynne Atkinson, manager of Mitchell’s in Cockermouth, said the level of viewings was significantly up on last year and more confidence was creeping back.

Mrs Walker said she believed at first sellers were reluctant to put their properties on the market because they assumed, incorrectly, that prices would begin to increase.

“The result was that house transaction levels fell to an all-time low.

“Sellers chose to either stay put or become landlords because they couldn’t raise the funds to buy their next property.

“Now, we have seen more buyer confidence, which means prices must be right at the moment.

“Historically, the market is cyclical and every seven years properties double in value.

“There had been an over-supply, with plenty of properties but not enough buyers.”

But Mrs Walker said the situation has improved for some first-time buyers and investors who had been priced out of the market during the housing boom.

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