Hexham estate agents have great start to year
The North East saw a rise in house sales in December - alongside a tiny drop in prices, according to latest figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
No up-to-date figure is available from RICS but property website Rightmove last week revealed that property in the region was down just £27 from last month to an average £139,527.
In Tynedale, first-time buyers pay from £150,000 to £175,000 while smaller family homes are in the region of £225,000.
Hexham agent Andrew Coulson agreed that house prices here have remained broadly similar throughout 2016 and into the new year.
However, his firm has had an excellent start to 2017 with sales exceeding expectations, including a number of properties which have been on the market for quite some time.
He added: "We saw a huge jump in the number of completions taking place last month compared to December 2015 - we completed on six times as many house sales.
"Our sales pipeline has not been as high at this time of year for the past seven years. We are certain this indicates that it is going to be another active year, although there are certain reports which are indicating that the number of house transactions during 2017 will be lower than 2016."
Keith Pattinson has also had a good start to the year. Hexham branch manager Marc Hydleman said: "The year has started at a great pace and we have agreed more sales this month than we did in January 2016. We have also noticed a considerable drop in the number of sales not reaching completion throughout 2016."
In common with agents across the country, both Tynedale firms are suffering from low stock levels and lack of new instructions.
Mr Hydleman said: "At Pattinsons we have seen an increase in demand for property in the Hexham branch and as a result we require more properties."
Mr Coulson added: "So far this month we have noticed that the number of new properties coming to the market has dropped and it is too early to say whether this is a result of the economic forecast - that is, interest rates potentially rising or the impact that Brexit will have on the economy."
Mr Hydelman too is uncertain about what the short-term future holds: "It is very difficult to forward-guess the financial markets at the moment, especially as we are still waiting to see what the Brexit and Trump effect will be.
"If the financial markets stay the same, then I can see that prices will rise slightly in the future, but if the market tightens up, with interest rates rising and money being more difficult to borrow, then the market may slow down again.
"Presently the market is moving well and now is a good time to put your property on the market for sale."
Mr Coulson also urges would-be sellers to start thinking about marketing their properties.
He said: "Traditionally the market for house movers picks up in spring time (March/April) and we are confident that this will remain so.
"We always recommend to our prospective clients that the best time to place your house on the market is prior to spring as there are buyers out and about already with very little supply to satisfy their needs.
"So if you are thinking of putting your house on the market this year, you are far better putting it on much sooner rather than later."