ESTATE agents are encouraging people in West Somerset to buy now before prices soar.
Prices across England rocketed by 8.6% in 2013, according to figures released by Nationwide building society.
West Somerset is yet to see that kind of increase, but estate agents in Minehead say it could just be a matter of time before they do rise.
Kevin James, associate partner at Wilkie May Tuckwood, told the County Gazette: “Certainly now is a good time for people to buy ... if you want to purchase, now is your chance.”
And Kevin Prescott, branch manager at Webbers, said: “We are encouraging people to buy now while houses are still cheap and mortgages are low.”
Kevin James added: “Although the average house price in the UK has continued to increase over the past year, we are yet to see prices rise in West Somerset.
“With increased transactions here which rose approximately 15% from 2012 to 2013, there is a high chance that we will see price rises here in 2014.
“The Government’s Help to Buy schemes have created a much more positive property market as we see the return of first time buyers and an increase in the number of investors.”
Mr James said sales of two and three bedroom properties have been increasing.
He added: “Certainly now is a good time for people to buy, but they should shop around and look into alternatives to get the best deal. If you want to purchase, now is your chance.”
Kevin Prescott, branch manager at Webbers, said the reason house prices were yet to rise as quickly in West Somerset was because they had not dropped as sharply in the first place, because it is largely a retirement area.
He added: “We are encouraging people to buy now while houses are still cheap and while mortgages are low.
“It’s all about confidence and I think confidence is certainly returning.”
Paul Landon from Fox and Sons said: “We had around a 1% increase in house prices in Minehead last year but we had record sales in November and December so I think it’s likely Minehead will be hit by price increases.”
Robert Gardner, chief economist for Nationwide said: “Part of the reason for the acceleration in house price growth is that the supply side of the market has not kept pace with the upturn in demand, even though buyer numbers remain subdued by historic standards.”
The average house price in the South-West is now £195,196, representing an annual rise of 5.7%.