Good news for Norwich housing market

Adam GrettonThe recovering housing market in Norwich demonstrated further signs of revival yesterday after figures showed another increase in property sales.Adam Gretton

The recovering housing market in Norwich demonstrated further signs of revival yesterday after figures showed another increase in property sales.

New figures show that the city bucked a regional and national trend by experiencing an almost 10pc rise in transactions last month compared to February.

Property experts yesterday said confidence was growing despite a 6pc drop in overall house sale activity in East Anglia compared to March last year.

The stats from Norfolk-based Agency Express showed that residential sales across the region were also down 2.5pc last month in comparison to February. But in Norwich, there was a month-on-month rise of 9.8pc.

The property activity index figures, which are based on the numbers of 'Sold' and 'For Sale' boards, also showed that the number of homes put on the market in Norwich in March had reached its highest level for 20 months with a month-on-month rise of over 12pc.

Stephen Watson, managing director of East Carleton-based Agency Express, said the overall decline in property sales last month could be attributed to a bumper month in February following the extreme winter weather.

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'The picture for the housing market remains encouraging as we are seeing levels of activity for house sales and properties coming on the market that we last saw quite a few months ago.

'With the recent announcement of the increase in the stamp duty threshold we can expect greater buoyancy in the housing market over the next couple of months,' he said.

Nationally, monthly house sales went down by 13pc in March, but were up 5pc year-on-year. The news comes after the Nationwide reported a 0.7pc increase in house prices last month, with the average UK home now worth �164,519.

Andrew Taylor, senior partner at Watsons in Norwich, said he had no concerns about the regional March slump.

'Last January and February was the absolute pits and March last year showed a considerable improvement in activity in properties coming on the market. If we look at the activity it maybe slightly down, but 6pc is neither here nor there.'

'Norwich traditionally tends to lead the county and sets the trend which is followed by rural areas in three or four months.'

Guy Gowing, managing partner at Arnolds, added that the Agency Express figures were 'not scientific' and Norfolk was experiencing an improvement in activity compared to last year.

'We are confident enough to invest in our business and we are looking forward to a good 2010. Norwich is a very resilient economy, there are a lot of successful businesses and the confidence is having a knock on affect within the housing market,' he said.

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