Estate agent calls for action on housing market

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THE GOVERNMENT needs to take urgent steps to address the growing housing market gap between the South East and the rest of the country, says a Wearside estate agent.

Bill Kimmitt, of Kimmitt and Roberts, was speaking as the Nationwide Building Society unveiled its latest report into house price rises nationwide.

The report for June shows a huge discrepancy with the rate of price rises antimere. Property prices in London leapt by 22 per cent in the last 12 months, while those in Tyne and Wear went up by just three per cent.

But Bill Kimmitt said even the three per cent figure was overly optimistic in the light of recent market activity.

“The figures are quite misleading,” he said. “They relate to sales completed to June, so they reflect prices agreed in March or April.

“At that time, the market was showing definite signs of improvement, but since then it has tailed off.

“The mortgage restriction measures that were put in place about six weeks ago have definitely had an effect on the market.”

The national figure was being artificially inflated by a bubble in the South East.

“If you have got a 20 per cent rise in London and the South East but an average rise nationally of 11 per cent, it is obvious what is happening and the reason for it,” said Mr Kimmitt.

“I don’t think in 30 years in the business, I have ever seen such a wide range.

“There are pockets of property price growth everywhere in the country, but across the board it is just not there.

“The problem we have is that government policy is led by what happens in the South East.

“Their challenge is to control what is happening in there while letting the rest of us get on with it but they don’t seem to want to put regulation in place.

“Maybe they have good reason – I’m not a politician or an economist - but unless they can put measures in place to control what happens down there and let everywhere else carry on, then it is potentially going to do some damage.”