There is mixed news for property owners with experts predicting prices to remain static but the number of sales to increase in the East Midlands this year.
The latest figures show the average price of a house in the county rose by 1.9 per cent from July to September last year.
Figures released by the Land Registry of England and Wales show that the average property in Northamptonshire now costs £184,300.
Prices may have risen overall, but prices in East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Corby all fell when compared with the figures for April to June.
The average price of a property in East Northamptonshire is now £195,067, which is a decrease of 16.7 per cent compared with the previous quarter.
House prices in Kettering and Corby have also fallen, by 1.8 per cent in Kettering to £156,067 and by 1.4 per cent in Corby, where an average property now costs £137,715.
The news is slightly more rosy for property owners in Wellingborough, where prices have risen by 2.7 per cent to £163,886.
The figures also vary according to the type of property, with prices for flats in East Northamptonshire falling by 40.7 per cent to £83,963, whereas flats in Kettering now cost £88,226, an increase of 5.2 per cent.
People living in a semi-detached property in Welllingborough have seen the value of their property rise by 9.4 per cent to £151,138, whereas the value of a semi in Kettering has dropped by 2.6 per cent to £129,294.
The number of properties being sold in Northamptonshire also showed a slight rise compared with the previous quarter. A total of 2,371 properties were sold between July and September, a increase of 1.8 per cent on the previous three months. Corby saw the biggest increase in sales of 5.1 per cent, which represented 195 properties.
The latest report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicts that although house prices will rise by two per cent nationally, house prices in the East Midlands will remain flat this year, with rents rising by three per cent.
The RICS also expects to see an increase in the number of properties changing hands in the UK. It predicts a rise of three per cent to 960,000 sales, however, this is still a lot lower than during the property boom; in 2006 1.67million properties were sold.
The RICS spokesman for the East Midlands, Jonathan O’Shea, said: “We all have a feeling this year will be better and the RICS housing market forecast for 2013 should be seen as good news.
“However we must not be blinded by the fact that there is still a shortage of mortgage funding and many first time buyers may struggle to make the initial step onto the ladder. Positive sentiment is still lacking and while prices are bumpy this will remain difficult to achieve.
“Meanwhile, the alternative of renting is becoming more and more costly with a further increase in rents likely in 2013. Critically, the Government needs to ensure that the conditions are in place that will enable the stock of new housing, whether for purchase or rent, to rise more rapidly.”
Property is still seen as a good investment by businesses in the region.
According to a recent survey by Lloyds TSB Commercial, residential lettings are set to remain strong over the next three to six months, with 48 per cent of those surveyed saying they expected to see strong performance in residential lettings.
Andrew Morgan, relationship manager for Lloyds TSB Commercial in Northamptonshire, said: “It continues to be a challenging time for those operating in the property sector in the Midlands.
“It is welcome news that 40 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises plan to increase their financial commitment over the next three to six months. Small to medium-sized enterprises continue to cite the challenging UK economy and local planning policy issues as influencing their decisions to invest.”
Price rise prediction
A national survey has found that more people expect house prices to rise than fall this year.
According to the latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker nearly 38 per cent of respondents predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year, while 18 per cent said they thought prices would fall.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “Conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months, with little overall movement in either house prices or sales for the second consecutive year.
“Ongoing concerns over job security and the challenges in raising a deposit are likely to constrain housing demand and activity this year. We expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013.”
Those living in the South East are the most optimistic about house prices, closely followed by Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands. People living in the east of England and Wales are the least optimistic.
More than half of those questioned (53 per cent) think the next 12 months will be a good time to buy. The main barriers to buying a home are concerns about job security, with more than half the respondents (58 per cent) highlighting this as a concern, and the challenges in raising a deposit with 55 per cent saying this was a barrier to buying a home. Regionally, the North East has the highest proportion thinking that it will be a good time to buy (66 per cent) while London has the lowest proportion with 39 per cent feeling that the next 12 months will be a good time to buy.
Taylor estate agents, which has offices in Wellingborough and Kettering, is optimistic about the performance of the housing market in 2013.
And despite the ups and downs of the past 12 months, Kettering branch manager Conor Zafar was relatively upbeat for the coming year.
He said: “It definitely wasn’t a complete disaster.
“The past few months have been busy and we’re hoping that will continue. We opened after Boxing Day and we were doing business.
“We’ve sold houses in the last week, despite it being the holiday period.
“We’re optimistic that the market will be good in 2013.
“Although we are not expecting house prices to rise, we expect to sell more units.
“Some of the best rates in the past 10 years have been available in the last six months for people wanting to buy a house and the banks are lending.
“That’s really encouraging and puts the confidence back in the market.”
Mr Zafar said 2012 started off well but sales slowed down during the summer, possibly due to the Olympics and the holiday season.
It’s picked up again in recent months and he is expecting it to continue into the new year.
He said: “If the year starts well, that will be a really good sign.
“We’re hoping for a good year but we don’t expect house prices to increase.
“Prices are static and it’s the same all over the country, apart from London.”