THE summer sun has heated up the property market in Worcestershire with house prices increasing at their fastest rate for three years.
According to a report by Nationwide, July saw the strongest upward swing since August 2010 with a 3.9 per cent year on year rise.
Lenders, estate agents and property websites have all been reporting surges in activity and rising confidence following the launch of a number of Government schemes to give the housing market a shot in the arm.
Mortgage rates across the market have plummeted since the introduction of Funding for Lending a year ago, which gives lenders access to cheap finance.
Initiatives called NewBuy and Help to Buy have also given people with smaller deposits a helping hand and lenders have been reporting more first-time buyers entering the market, which should help free up some stuck chains.
Morgan Aps, partner in the Worcester office of Fisher German John Sanders said: “Confidence within the residential property market is growing strongly.
Sales levels have increased significantly, along with activity levels right through the market place and particularly in the area up to £500,000.
The numbers of new buyers registering with us looking for properties has increased dramatically since the beginning of the year compared to 2012.
With this new found confidence we are expecting a busy autumn market, an ideal opportunity to be moved by Christmas.”
Richard Shelton, partner at Shelton and Lines, which has just opened a second office in Worcester, added: “The property market is as buoyant as it was in the dizzy heights of 2007.
"Prices aren’t quite increasing at the speed they were, however we are seeing properties selling at similar prices they were in 2007.
"There has been a pent up demand that has been building for about two years, buyers have been waiting for the mortgage market to improve, which has and continues to offering buyers more choice and some excellent deals, this has had a positive impact on the market, by increasing demand, therefore increasing property prices.”
Knight Frank in Worcester has seen guide prices exceeded at several of its recent auctions. “A manor house on the Worcestershire/Shropshire border, a farm near Bredon Hill, and two building plots in Worcester sold for 21per cent and 36 per cent above their guides,” said partner Will Kerton.
“While competitive bidding has not been the case for all properties, June 2013 compared to June 2012 saw a rise of 63 per cent in the number of offers made by buyers and an increase of 67 per cent more properties sold.”
However, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, pointed out the year-on-year growth was boosted by a low base to start from. House prices fell by 2.6% annually in July last year.
He added :”Signs of a modest improvement in wider economic conditions and further modest gains in employment are likely to be lifting buyer sentiment.
"An improvement in the availability and a reduction in the cost of credit, partly as a result of policy measures such as the Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes, are also boosting the demand for homes."