Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Some Good News Behind Headlines

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Some Good News Behind Headlines

Article excerpt

NOW is the time for first-time buyers to step on to the property ladder, say experts. And the timing is even better for those wanting to do it in the North East, according to a new report.

More realistic pricing of properties put on the market and a shortage of buyers means there are bargains to be had, and many builders have a range of packages designed especially for first-time buyers.

Sarah Mains of estate agents Sarah Mains Residential says that despite the doom and gloom surrounding the property market, this is a good time to buy an entry level priced house, due to the sensible asking prices and lack of competition to snap up available properties.

The only stumbling block, she says, is that first-time purchasers may face difficulty securing a mortgage without a large deposit. Sarah said: "Any decent estate agent is valuing properties at sensible, realistic prices - that is not implying that there has been a huge drop in house values in our region, but that to sell at the moment a house needs to be seen as a good purchase by the lender.

"The only stumbling block we seem to be coming across is potential purchasers getting the loan through - lenders are applying tough restrictions to their lending code at the moment and you need to be seen as a good prospect for return."

Richard Bass, managing director of Haslam Homes North East, said: "No-one would argue that after more than a decade of growth and prosperity the economy is going through tougher times. But we must be careful not to let the daily reports on the credit crunch, falling house prices, rising fuel and food prices create an air of despondency from which we can see no escape.

"Behind the headlines there continues to be a growing need for housing, particularly at the starter end of the market, which will ultimately drive a recovery.

"What can we do to find solutions to help first time buyers make that all important step on to the property ladder? …

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