HOUSE prices increased slightly in Southend at the start of the Covid-19 crisis in March, new figures show.

​The ​boost ​contributes to the longer-term trend, which has seen property prices in the area ​achieve 2.7 per cent annual growth.

Property experts have been inundated with enquiries since re-opening their firms last week when many feared the housing market would crash as a result of lockdown.​

But the average Southend house price in March was £288,327, Land Registry figures show​ – a 0.6 per cent increase on February.

Castle Point councillor, Colin MacLean, who owns Amos Estates, which has branches in Hadleigh, Hockley, and Rayleigh, was delighted with how things were going since they re-opened last week.

He said: “Since we reopened we have had a surprising amount of enquires - we didn’t expect to recover in such a quick time and haven’t seen any portion of the sale agreed prior to the lockdown change.

“We would’ve thought that people would have lost confidence and reconsidered their decisions but we are not seeing that at all.”

However, homeowners Charlotte and Mike Holmes, both 32, from Langdon Hills, were left disappointed after agreeing to a lower asking price at the beginning of the year to then be advised to take more off the price since the market resumed.

Charlotte told the Echo: “About nine months ago we put our two-bedroom flat on the market for 265,000.

“But then this year at the end of January we agreed a price of 220,000 with a buyer which is pretty much what we paid for it five years ago.

“Considering we had spent 30 odd grand doing it all up we were a bit gutted.

“Now the market is open again we thought we could just pick up where we left off but we were ask to drop the price by another £50,000 - I thought no way.

“We’ve decided to take it off the market now.”

Mr MacLean however, said the initial enthusiasm of people getting back into the market may be behind what is driving this period.

When asked, it was hard to gauge what trends we could expect to see next month.

The property expert and councillor, added: “It’s difficult to tell at this stage.

“It depends on what happens if there is a second spike and what will happen as people return to work.

“There has been a noticeable increase in London buyers since we have been back.

“People might be considering the long term aspects of working from home like travelling less, and taking advantage of cheap housing stock in these areas as they move out of the city.”

Owners of flats saw the biggest improvement in property prices in Southend in March, increasing 0.8 per cent, to £194,433 on average. During last year, prices rose by 1.8 per cent.

In term of renters, n​ew research by flat sharing site SpareRoom has found that 54 per cent of renters are feeling confident again to view a property now restrictions have been lifted by the government.