HOUSE sales are back on the way up with one Huddersfield estate agent selling more homes in one month than in five.
Agents across Yorkshire are reporting a rise in sales – and Huddersfield estate agents agree that the local market is on the road to recovery.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said that the level of agreed property sales is rising fastest in the region.
The news comes as it was reported that house prices rose for the sixth month in a row during September – while new figures show that repossessions across the country are slowing.
And estate agents agree that while there is still a long way to go, the local property market is looking far healthier.
Liam Doran, manager of the Huddersfield branch of Reeds Rains, said: “The level of activity is massively better than this time last year.
“We sold more houses in September than in the last five months of last year.
“It will take a good 18 months to get things back to where we were two or three years ago, but overall I would say the future is looking bright.”
The RICS said that house prices have continued to rise despite an increase in the number of homes being put up for sale.
The rise pushed the average cost of a UK home up to £199,303 – a level last seen in November 2008.
Mr Doran said that while house prices are not dramatically increasing, activity among buyers and sellers is moving well again.
“Things are looking far better,’’ he said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say prices are rising, but the volume of activity is improving and we are getting a higher level of enquiries.
“The price achieved for properties has also gone up, so generally speaking the market is moving all the time.
“We are at step one of a long road to recovery with a continued improvement and buyers coming back.
“I certainly think we’ve hit the bottom of the market and we will soon start to see a real growth in value.
“I don’t think there will be a significant growth, but we will see a continuous growth for the next 12 to 18 months.”
Mr Doran said properties have started to shift as buyers realise they are at the best price for investing in, with more stock set to become available in the new year as sellers decide to put their homes on the market.
He added: “Huddersfield continues to be a popular place to live.
“It benefits from a ripple effect because of its location and people are realising they get better value for money with property here.”
Rachel Foster, director of Bairstow Eves estate agents, said she disagreed with reports that house prices were on the increase.
She said: “We are seeing property moving which might result in an increase in prices, but at the moment I would say they are quite static.
“A lot of people are still being very careful because of things like redundancies.
“But over the last six months we have seen a lot more activity and I think things will pick up further in the new year.
“The lower priced properties particularly are selling and at this end we are seeing three buyers chasing one property.
“This is positive but vendors still need to be realistic about what they can achieve for their homes.”
New figures show that the number of people who have lost their homes has risen by only 3% – despite rising unemployment.
Around 11,700 people had their homes repossessed during the three months to the end of September, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.
The figure was up from 11,400 in the second quarter, but down on 12,700 during the first three months of the year.
The group is now slashing its forecast for total repossessions during 2009 from 65,000 to 48,000.
It said this was due to factors including government schemes to keep people in their homes and the impact of low interest rates.