Mortgage applications on the up

MORE people in Ipswich are getting mortgages and buying houses for the first time in months, latest trends show.

MORE people in Ipswich are getting mortgages and buying houses for the first time in months, latest trends show.

The British Bankers' Association said the number of mortgages approved for house purchase across the UK hit a 13-month high of 31,162 during May.

Ipswich Building Society's chief executive Paul Winter said the increase can also be seen in the town, as his firm experienced a rise in the number of mortgages sold during April and May. He added that June was also showing signs that the market is improving.

Mr Winter said: “We saw a significant increase in business in May, which has continued into June. In fact April, May and June were very good for us and were back up to the level it was a year ago.

“This could be for a number of reasons; there is a bit more stability in the housing market, and as house prices appeared to be at the bottom, people have started to become more positive about buying.

“As it is very low interest rates, it is much easier to afford a mortgage at the moment. It appears we are turning a corner.”

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The high numbers of mortgages being approved shows both lenders and buyers are getting more confidence in the property market again. As a result the housing market is beginning to improve slowly.

Colin Girling, who owns Colin Girling & Co, and represents the Suffolk branch of National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), claims the demand is definitely there, although there is an issue with a lack of 'stock'.

He said: “Things have improved. Last month was quite a reasonable month but then we had an excellent month in February and it quietened down again.

“We are now selling properties that have been on the market for quite some time but the stock level of houses is quite low. The demand has picked up and people are out there looking. People now have to put their properties on the market.”

Mary Marley, negotiator at Primedale Group, in Ipswich, said: “People are interested in buying houses. Unfortunately we haven't always got the properties to offer them.

“There has been an increase in activity in general. Last month was the highest for sales since last February.”

Is the housing market improving? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail