Housing market riding high

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WIGAN has seen a housing boom in recent weeks - which has been boosted by the council’s mortgage scheme.

Unofficial figures from estate agents across the borough suggest that more properties are being bought in the area in January and February, compared to the same period over the last few years,

Bosses at estate agents state that more first time buyers are coming forward, as a result of the Lend a Local Hand scheme, where Wigan Council has put £1m into a local authority mortgage indemnity scheme run by Lloyds TSB.

The project, which is available in all Lloyds TSB branches in Wigan borough, allows people buying their first home to get a mortgage on more affordable lending rates.

Kelly Frost, office manager at MHL Estate Agents, in Mesnes Street, said: “We have been really busy and we have been getting a lot more interest.

“The fact that the council has been helping first time buyers is a factor, as previously it had been difficult for them to save up for a deposit.

“As a result we are getting more active viewers, which will filter to offers.”

Alan Batt, owner of Alan Batt Estate Agents, said: “I noticed an increase in activity last year and particularly in the last quarter of last year.

“In fact we were still selling in the weeks leading up to Christmas as I would expect in what you would call normal months without the distraction of the Christmas holidays.

“Sales for January 2013 have been our best ever start since 2007 and are continuing at great levels.

“This could be a sign of customer confidence, and an acceptance of current price levels.

“More families are helping their first time buyers with deposits and the best time to buy is when it is difficult to sell if finances allow.”

A spokesman from Property Warehouse, in Hindley, said: “We have sold a few houses over the last couple of weeks which is unusual for January and February and things seemed to have picked up quicker than normal.

“A lot of the sales seem to be from first time buyers who have saved up a deposit for the lower end of the market.”

The council scheme is aimed at helping first-time buyers to get their foot on the housing ladder.

Many continue to struggle to get credit from high street lenders.