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Suffolk house prices expected to hold

PUBLISHED: 23:00 01 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

ESTATE agents in Suffolk believe predictions of a sharp slowdown in the growth of house prices this year is unnecessarily pessimistic.

The Halifax, now part of the HBOS banking group, has forecast that 2002 will see an end to the large price increases of the last two years.

ESTATE agents in Suffolk believe predictions of a sharp slowdown in the growth of house prices this year is unnecessarily pessimistic.

The Halifax, now part of the HBOS banking group, has forecast that 2002 will see an end to the large price increases of the last two years.

It believes the effects of the economic slowdown will mean house prices rising by a modest 5 per cent on average, and in East Anglia it says growth will be just 3% compared to 14% in 2000 and 15% last year.

A similar survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors predicts average house price growth of 6% in 2002.

But Suffolk's estate agents say the Halifax figures, which are based on mortgage offers and sale completions, are too blunt an instrument to take account of local conditions.

Peter Tooke, co-owner of Peter Andrews, of Bildeston and Mayfair, said other factors besides the state of the economy, were also important in house-buying decisions.

Mr Tooke, whose company specialises in country homes valued at more than £200,000, said: "Prices have been pretty good and there were definitely dramatic rises earlier in the year. In fact most people still make money on a re-sale, even on a fairly recent purchase."

Stephen Beane, a partner in Ipswich-based Beane, Wass and Box, was equally optimistic about the medium-range houses in which his company deals for a 20-mile radius around the town.

He said: "I think the rises won't be as strong as they were last year but I don't see them dropping as low as 3%. There's such a shortage of stock and I think people are drawn to this area who are attracted by the relative cheapness, so there's still room for growth in the more moderate sector.

"There's a lot of down-beat talk but the market itself doesn't seem to be affected."

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