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House Prices on the Rise

17:18 Posted by Richard Horsfield
ASKING prices for homes in the region rose by 4.6 per cent last month. The average asking price of a property in the seven-county South West increased by around £6,000 in the four weeks to May 9 to stand at £239,766, said website Rightmove.

New sellers raised their valuation in Penzance (up 7 per cent), Yeovil (5.9 per cent), Exeter (0.8 per cent), Taunton (3.2 per cent) and Torquay (1.4 per cent).

Meanwhile, asking prices fell by 1.3 per cent in Plymouth and 3.3 per cent in Truro. The annual fall in asking prices in the South West eased, but remained 7.2 per cent down on the same period last year.

Rightmove put the sharp rise down to sellers pricing homes at higher levels due to concerns about the extent to which their equity had been eroded, making it difficult for them to move up the property ladder.

Richard Copus, spokesman for the National Association of Estate Agents in Devon, claimed the market was showing signs of recovery, but cautioned against reading too much into Rightmove's figures.

He said: "Asking prices can be very misleading. It's still a buyers' market out there and they are still being very tough about what they are willing to offer. If they think it's overpriced, they won't even look at it."

He said his own firm, Newton Abbot-based Richard Copus Estates, had seen sales triple this year, and most other agents in the region were seeing transactions double.

He added: "But there is a buzz, which we haven't had for some time. People seem to be more happy."

Rightmove acknowledged the leap was more reminiscent of a boom market than the current slump, adding that the jump was the largest price increase recorded during May since 2003, when house prices were rising by 15 per cent a year.
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