Leading local estate agent Mullucks Wells predicts that demand will outstrip supply in the property market in 2014, with ten times as many buyers as there are properties available

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The agent, with branches in Bishop’s Stortford, Great Dunmow, Saffron Walden and a newly opened office in Epping, currently has 280 properties for sale.

Chasing those properties are more than 2,800 prospective buyers, both registered and online – a situation which is likely to continue the upward pressure on house prices.

2013 ended with a particularly busy December for the company, which saw four times as many property viewings than previous years, and three times as many offers being made.

Mullucks Wells’ director William Wells said: “The property market started to move slowly in the summer of 2013, picking up by the end of the year, and I expect this trend to continue in 2014.

“We’re predicting a 10 per cent rise in property prices by the end of the year – although that figure is unlikely to be achieved by all properties across the whole of the region. Homes which are inexpensive to run, have convenient transport links and access to good education nearby will inevitably lead the way, with others lagging behind.

“I expect sales to increase more quickly in the lower stamp duty brackets first. 2014 certainly would appear to be a better year for sellers, particularly those downsizing – although their pricing will still have to be realistic. The only downside is that those wishing to buy a house here are going to have to pay more in the future.

“Other factors to consider are the eye-wateringly punitive rates of stamp duty – especially now prices are rising, with bands that haven’t been looked at for donkey’s years – as well as the possibility of an earlier than expected rise in interest rates, which now seems increasingly likely.

“But overall, demand is likely to far outstrip supply – particularly in prime locations such as Bishop’s Stortford, Epping, Great Dunmow and Saffron Walden. More rural areas are likely to take a little longer to recover.

“However, it’s true to say that the property market would seem to be at its healthiest for several years.”

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