As the country slowly emerges from recession many people, from first time buyers to downsizers and retirees, are hoping to find a new home, but their main difficulty is finding a property that suits their needs.

David Maslen, director of David Maslen Estate Agents with four offices across the city, says if you are looking to sell this year, whether you have a house or a flat in Brighton & Hove or the surrounding area, now might well be the best time to find a buyer.

David opened his first office in Lewes Road in 1999 followed by an office in Woodingdean in 2004, Hove in 2007 and Fiveways in 2008, so he has a good background and understanding of the property market in Brighton and Hove.

He said: “For the first time in many years there is no shortage of buyers and that is affecting prices. Last month we had an open viewing day on a central Brighton property which attracted over 30 people and resulted in six offers and it was sold within a few days.

“The shortage is also causing problems for people who have found a buyer but can’t find a suitable house for themselves, so they have to take their property off the market and that can cause a property chain to break, that results in more people looking for a property.

“Last year property prices in Brighton and Hove rose by 8-10%, depending on which survey you look at, so an average Brighton and Hove house valued at £300,000 would have risen by £30,000, which is good news for sellers. But if they are looking to move up the property ladder, a house valued at £400,000 a year ago would now be £40,000 more, and as long as the market is strong and buyers outnumber sellers, that gap between prices is going to keep widening, meaning extra finance will have to be found.

“My advice to anyone thinking about selling is to start the process now, it could save them money, and because there are more people looking for property the time it takes to find a buyer is likely to be shorter.”

Easter is traditionally the time for people to start looking for a new home and many sellers may well be waiting for better weather before they take the first step but it could be an expensive delay.

David added: “Sellers may be holding off until the spring, but buyers are not waiting. Most have the finances in place and want to get started. As long as a house or flat is approved by the lender’s surveyor it should go ahead. Getting a property into pristine condition won’t make much of a difference. It might affect the price a little but with such a shortage of property around, it will still attract lots of interest.”