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Gloucestershire homeowners urged to put properties on the market to meet record demand

By CCampbell  |  Posted: March 20, 2014

AlistairBone

Alistair Bone, left, and Paul Cornell, right, with, from the left, Tina Pearce, Jo Cornell, Sharon Rodway, Sue Walker, Sarah Sanders and Jon Williams.

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Homeowners in Gloucestershire are urged to put their property on the market, with one estate agency reporting hundreds of potential buyers on its books.

Alistair Bone, director at Gloucester-based Alistair Bone Estate Agents, said those looking to sell would get the best price for their home now instead of later in the year.

This is due to record levels of demand at the agency, with around 300 prospective buyers registered.

Other agencies in the county have been calling for more stock too in recent months – including Philip Pugh & Partners in Cheltenham, where demand is at its highest since 2005.

Mr Bone's comments come after Chancellor George Osborne this week announced a further £6 billion would be put into the Government's Help to Buy scheme, allowing a further 120,000 new homes to be built.

Some critics have warned it will put further pressure on house prices and cause a housing bubble.

"People don't know how strong the market is," said Mr Bone. "The problem we have is we are selling houses too quick. With supply and demand as it is, there is a slight bubble here."

He added accurate pricing was "vital" in this market and the number of viewings by prospective buyers would increase this spring, in line with previous years. He said well-priced houses and good quality schools continued to make areas of Gloucester a popular place to live.

Two and three-bedroom homes have risen in price from £125,000 and £135,000 over 12 months in Longlevens and other nearby areas including Churchdown and Longford, according to the branch. A home on the market for £185,000 on Cheltenham Road recently had 16 viewings.

This was down to a rise in first-time buyers, particularly between the ages of 20 and 35, and investors, Mr Bone said.

He added house prices in parts of the county were now higher than in 2007.

Paul Cornell, mortgage adviser at Alistair Bone Estate Agents in Longlevens, said he had experienced his busiest start to a year since he started in the industry 13 years ago and warned mortgage rates could rise. He dealt with more people seeking mortgage advice in the past two months than in the whole of 2013, which was a strong year for the agency.

This was thanks, in part, to the second phase of the Help to Buy scheme, he said. The phase allows buyers of properties valued at less than £600,000 to borrow with a deposit of just five per cent of the property's price. The Government guarantees up to 15 per cent of the home loan as an insurance policy for the banks.

Mr Cornell said: "People don't know how much their house is worth and if they are thinking about selling they should do so now. Mortgage rates are at the best they have been. More people are able to re-mortgage now because the equity is there. I think lenders will put their rates up over the next six to 12 months."

He added the Government's three per cent stamp duty tax level on properties valued above £250,000, where one pence more could add £5,000 to the buyer's bill, had a "massive" effect in the county. There had been a gulf in sales of properties valued between £250,000 and £280,000 because of the tax, he said.

The agency launched Alistair Bone Mortgage Services on January 1.

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