GAINSBOROUGH has suffered a 68 per cent drop in house sales in the last four years according to a recent survey.
The survey by Lloyds TSB found that Gainsborough came joint with Burnley in the North West in having the second highest drop in property sales in the county between 2007 and 2010.
Gainsborough saw a 68 per cent drop in sales. The national average was 48 per cent.
“The decline in housing market activity over the past three years has been substantial,” said Lloyds TSB housing economist Suren Thiru.
“The current level of activity remains significantly below historic levels despite most regions seeing some increase in transactions in 2010. A North-South divide appears to have opened up in the housing market with both home sales and price growth in the south proving more resilient than the north over the last few years.”
Suren added: “Looking forward, the overall level of activity in the housing market is likely to remain somewhat subdued for the foreseeable future, although regional differences are likely.”
Coun Jeff Summers, chairman of the economic development and regeneration committee at West Lindsey said: “As a council, we can’t really do anything to encourage the housing market as things need to improve on a national level - people just don’t have any confidence in the market and there isn’t the demand.”
However, David Longstaff from Gainsborough Estates said that the situation was not as bad as it might appear.
“The number of houses has stayed pretty constant,” he said.
“The biggest factor is that first time buyers just can’t get mortgages at the moment.”
He continued: “The houses are being sold at anything which comes close to the right price and relatively quickly, but most of those are part-exchanged or repossessions.”
Mr Longstaff said that he thinks that sales could increase in the not-too-distant future if banks change their lending habits and first-time buyers are more patient.
“Banks need to change the way they’re lending – at the moment first time buyers just can’t get their foot on the property ladder, so they rent.”
“Then they buy new equipment and furnishings for their new house so then a year later they don’t have that deposit that they would have spent on a house any more – it’s a vicious cycle.”
“If you’re a first time buyer, then make sure you get the right deal. People can take £20 – 30,000 off their houses but only because they knocked that off the house they want to buy. If someone comes down £10,000, then as long as everyone sees they are getting a deal then everyone is happy.
“A house is only worth what someone is willing to pay.”
“It’s very important to have the right estate agent - they can actually earn you money rather than cost you money, which is very important at a time like this.”