THE local housing market is benefiting from an upturn, with increasing demand driving up prices, according to the area’s estate agents.
Agents say there are not enough houses for sale to satisfy the demand from people looking to buy, especially in Worthing, which is becoming more popular with buyers from Brighton and Hove.
Neil Hyde is a partner at Worthing-based agent Michael Jones, and has been with the firm since it opened, in 2001.
He said: “Over the last three to six months, demand has outstripped supply, which is natural when you have a busy market. Potential buyers are looking for new properties to come to market but are finding it frustrating, as not enough are coming on.”
According to Mr Hyde, buyers from Brighton and Hove are becoming increasingly interested in Worthing because they can get better value for money than they can in the city, while still enjoying good transport links to London.
He said September was always a busy period in the housing market, with many hoping to complete a move before Christmas.
Wayne Kenward, partner at Bacon and Co, has been in the industry for 32 years.
He said prices were increasing steadily, at an annual rate of around five per cent, meaning a house now worth £200,000 would cost around £210,000 in a year’s time if the rate stayed the same. He said the situation was likely to continue while interest rates remained low, adding that there was now more confidence in the market.
Ashley Jacobs, of Jacobs Steel, said the wider availability of mortgages was behind the recent surge in demand for houses and bungalows, with older-style homes in the Worthing town-centre area proving particularly popular.
He said: “With the government’s help to buy initiative, which backs 95 per cent mortgages, due to be implemented in the new year, the outlook for the property market is looking the most positive it has since 2007.”
Keith Harrison of Shoreham and Southwick-based firm Harrison Brant, said there had been a ‘significant increase’ in demand in two key areas of the market – first-time buyers and the buy-to-let sector.
He said low interest rates meant people were looking for higher returns than banks could offer, leading more to invest in the buy-to-let market, where a typical property will yield an annual profit of around five percent.
David Butt, of Arun-based firm Graham Butt, was quick to play down the ‘hype’ surrounding recent price rises. He said: “We are busier, there’s no question about that, but it is very early days still and we don’t know where the market is going to go.”
Mr Butt has been in the business since 1985, and remembers the boom and bust of the late 1980s.
As a result, he said he hoped the recent upturn was more than just a ‘false dawn’.
He said: “We are optimistic that the market will continue to improve and we should see a good year next year.”