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MAIDSTONE: Rush for new homes is pushing prices up

Friday 11th June 2021

ESTATE agents in Maidstone are booking more than 10 house viewings every few hours, with some people putting offers on properties before even stepping foot in them.

According to Halifax, house prices are rising at their fastest pace in five years after the extended stamp duty holiday triggered a fresh surge in buying last month.

The average first-time buyer property in Maidstone costs £220,000 - up £60,000 on the £160,000 price tag of a decade ago.

Experts said the industry was “working around the clock” to fit in auctions, sales, and viewings.

Estate agent Ben Siggins said: “The market right now is like nothing I've ever known. We have people offering on properties without even seeing them.

“If we put a property on the market, we can book 10 to 15 viewings within a couple of hours, and the next day, it's sold. This is even taking into account a rise in prices of between 5 and 10% this year.

“I don't feel the stamp duty holiday has had as much of an impact as people think. I think the lockdown has had a much more considerable influence.”

One housing expert said there was an average of one offer for every two viewings in Maidstone and 165 properties in the borough were added on to Rightmove in the last two weeks.

Agents across the county have seen the best and worst of buyers and sellers, with reports of customers following estate agents to their cars or writing handwritten letters to homeowners.

The pandemic has also seen people reassess their living space.

Sarah Raggett, partner of Sibley Pares, said the stamp duty holiday “fuelled the bubble” but people saving money imposed by the frugality of lockdown resulted in them wanting new homes.

She added: “The market is the busiest it’s been for many years. Here in Maidstone every property is generating phenomenal interest with properties going under offer sometimes within hours of coming to the market.”