Falling house prices, no longer being able to obtain a mortgage and first time buyers struggling to get a leg up the property ladder are all familiar tales of woe when it comes to the housing market.
But is that about to change following the news that Doncaster has seen the largest annual increase of any metropolitan district nationally, with house prices up by 4.1 per cent?
After years of bad news it appears the recent figures published by the Land Registry - which also revealed a two per cent monthly increase - highlight that the first green shoots of recovery are starting to sprout when it comes to the borough’s housing market.
Some estate agents in the town believe the worst is behind us but there is still some way to go to return to the housing market hey day of the noughties.
Sanjay Gandhi, managing director of Moss Properties, believes the increase could be traced to the fact that the average house price in the town - £96,005 - was way below the national benchmark of just over £167,000.
“I think Doncaster has been one of these places in the region that people don’t realise is below the national average for house prices, which is something investors have caught on to,” he said.
“Lots of investors from down south have been buying up properties because they’ve realised the rental yield in Doncaster is so high, so we’ve seen a lot of people move into the area because of that.”
Mr Gandhi also believes major construction projects such as the Keepmoat Stadium and Robin Hood Airport are helping to bring about an upturn in fortunes.
He added: “The infrastructure which has been set up in the town over the last five years, with things such as the airport and a new football stadium, is paying off - and we’re selling more and more houses, especially over the last few months.”
Chris Thomson, managing director at Robinson Hornsby, says the property market has increased over the last few months, but he is yet to see the sort of growth stated by the Land Registry.
He said: “We’ve certainly seen some growth over the last 12 months, and our sales are up by 20 per cent year on year.
“I’ve seen price growth of a few per cent in our low to medium range houses. It’s good news for the town, and what we’re looking for is steady growth in the property market, which will serve Doncaster better in the long term.”
Another sign the town’s property market is booming is the number of housing developments springing up including the The Gables development in Chequer Road that will offer 54 houses, all of which can be bought under the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage scheme.
Other developments include the £250 million Carr Lodge estate in Balby which will create 1,500 new homes. The first phase of its development, which started last month, will be completed within three years and will create 241 homes for sale, 66 homes for affordable rent and 22 homes available to buy on a shared ownership basis.
Simon Nielson, director at Northwood estate agents said: “I think nationally confidence has grown in the market because of the Government’s right to buy scheme and because of the Bank of England have said they won’t increase interest rates until unemployment falls below seven per cent.
“We’ve seen growth trickle in for the last six months, and it’s particularly grown over the last three months. We’re also opening a new branch in Thorne next month because of how the business has picked up.
“This is definitely good news for Doncaster.”
And it’s not just the estate agents that are predicting a brighter future, business and civic leaders also believe the housing market is starting to pick up.
Phil Harris, chief executive of Doncaster Chamber believes the increase in house prices was an indication of the confidence in the region created through ‘major transformational projects’ such as the link Road connecting the M18 and Robin Hood Airport.
He added: “There is a note of caution, however, that house prices don’t grow too fast causing affordability problems in Doncaster - as wages are not increasing at the same rate.”
Mayor Ros Jones thinks the rise is a sign Doncaster’s economy is performing well.
She said: “This will give further confidence to investors, house builders and the construction industry in general.
“Looking to the future, we are also ensuring land for over 18,500 houses is made available in the town over the next 15 years to cater for a growing population.
“We are conscious, however, that there is a need for more affordable homes and we are currently building new council houses across the borough.”