THE raw numbers from the Land Registry may suggest an upswing in prices in the heads of the valleys, but estate agents in Blaenau Gwent say the reality is mixed.

Angela Stephenson, of Davis and Sons in Abertillery, said she hasn’t seen any improvement at all in the market.

She said the tighter grasp on lending by the banks was preventing many from obtaining finance.

The branch was not selling houses above £60,000, and many homes that were changing hands were generally going to investors.

“Those with higher prices are not selling,” said the branch manager.

Jeanne Fry-Thomas, director of Bairstowe Eves Countrywide, Ebbw Vale, said she didn’t believe prices had risen in the county but, on a positive note, said the agency has been “very busy”.

She echoed the thoughts of other agents and said her company was selling property that was reasonably priced.

She said home buyers “still have to work hard to get a good rate” and will still need at least a ten percent deposit - which is difficult for first-time buyers living in a low-income area.