Almost three times as many properties are changing hands in Norfolk as at the height of the recession, boosting hopes the market is coming back to life – but house prices have risen by barely £100 over the last year.

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The average property in the county is now worth £143,867, according to the Land Registry – the second highest figure since March 2011. Last month, the average was £150 higher, at £144,017.

In December – the last month for which figures are available – there were 1,180 property transactions in Norfolk.

In January 2009, as the slump put the brakes on markets with a double whammy of falling prices and harder to obtain mortgages, there were just 451 transactions, a 10-year low for Norfolk.

Government figures set to be released later today are expected to show a fragile recovery in the market nationally.

An EDP straw poll of estate agents across the county last night confirmed that the housing market is beginning to move again – even if values have increased by barely £100 over the course of a year. Clive Hedges, partner at Keys estate agents, which has branches across north Norfolk, said: “There is a noticeable increase in people wanting to view properties in north Norfolk and an increase in actual sales compared to this time last year. The signs are in place of a recovery in the market, but we remain cautious.”

Paul Richardson, valuer at the Fakenham office of Belton Duffey, said: “We have definitely seen a significant improvement since the start of the new year.

“There has been a real upsurge in offers and interest in viewings. Most enquiries are for properties under £250,000, but they are also starting to trickle through to the higher end as well.”

Mr Hedges added: “New houses coming to the market always attract interest and the demand is strong across the sectors. However, the retirement and second-home sectors are prominent again.

“Getting mortgages is still an area of difficulty. There are good mortgage products out there and a good broker can source them, but the lending criteria is strict and a number of young people in this area do not earn sufficient income to satisfy these criteria.”

Neil Parsons, managing director of Dereham-based Parsons Estate Agents, said: “I think it’s the more expensive end of the market that’s recovered more, but the end of the market that normally sells to first-time buyers is more difficult.

“It’s still difficult for first-time buyers to save enough money for a deposit because of the banks’ unwillingness to lend unless they have substantial deposits.”

Aidan Branch, director of South Norfolk and North Suffolk-based agents Durrants, added: “As a company Durrants have had their best January in terms of property sales for four years.

“We are not getting carried away with this, but it is encouraging that sellers and buyers are once again showing confidence in the market.”

Nick Eley, chairman of the Norwich and District Association of estate agents, said: “The market is more buoyant and more competitive, but it’s not necessarily pushing asking prices up.”

While average property prices in Norfolk have reached £143,8677 – against a national average of £161,558 – the average detached property is worth £213,327, the average semi £135,685, the average terrace £108,313 and the average flat or maisonette £85,881.

Last April, prices stood at £213,223, £135,619, £108,260 and £85,139 respectively. That means properties have some way to climb before they reach the record highs of November 2007 – £244,688, £155,633, £124,236 and £97,703, with an average of £165,017.

But over the last 10 years, bricks and mortar have been a good investment despite the slump. For 10 years ago, prices stood at £137,069, £87,182, £69,594 and £54,731, with an average of £92,439.

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