Despite the cost-of-living crisis that is looming, there is no sign of any easing of the upward spiral of house prices in the area according to Suffolk estate agents.

However, they do accept that the current surge in prices cannot continue at its present rate - and are waiting to see what happens to the market in the months ahead.

The latest Halifax property survey shows that property prices in the East of England - an area stretching from Watford and Southend in the south to Cromer and Peterborough in the north - went up by 11.7% over the last year. The England average was 11%.

Nigel Papworth, from Felixstowe's Diamond Mills Estate Agents said he would estimate that house prices in his area of east Suffolk had gone up by about 12% over the last year.

He said: "Things are still looking very bouyant and demand has been greater than supply - although it is probably not at the level we saw at times last year.

"We are still very busy - but it's difficult to know how long this will last. The concerns about the cost of living will work through and we're waiting to see how that affects the market."

It remains difficult for young people to get on to the housing market because of the cost of property and the need to put down a deposit for a mortgage.

And there were concerns that if inflation goes up too high, interest rates could follow: "I don't think they'll go as high as we have seen in the past, but if they go above 1.5% it could be a bit of a concern for some people."

On the other side of the county Rob Swiney from Lacy Scott & Knight agreed that the market was still strong in the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket areas - but felt that prices would ease off.

He said: "I wouldn't disagree with those figures (from the Halifax) but the question we ask is 'How long will it last.'

"I think things will ease a bit - not a crash or anything like that, but I think price increases will fall back to single figures over the next few months."

He said it was noticeable that first-time buyers were getting older: "Now we see more in their mid-30s rather than in their 20s. People are staying with their parents or renting first while they build up a deposit."

Government figures show that in 2017 about 63% of homes in England were owner-occupied. That figure has now crept up slightly to nearly 65% in 2020.

But of those 2017 figures, just over 34% were owned outright and the number of homes with mortgages was just over 28% - a significant shift from earlier years.

Mr Swiney said those who owned a property outright were mainly the over-60s who had paid off their mortgages.