THE town's estate agents have said it has been their busiest July and August for many years.

The increased interest has prompted hopes it could fuel a marked rise in property values across the borough.

Summer months are traditionally a quiet time for the housing market, but this year's been different.

Although it's not led to an immediate surge in prices, market analysts say the increased demand is exactly what the stagnant property market needs.

Mollie Hall, residential sales manager at Wilbys, said: "The signs are very encouraging indeed, I have never known us be so busy at this time of year.

"It's as if people who have been sitting and waiting to make a decision to buy a house have decided now is the right time.

"I get the impression that many people sense that perhaps the economy is finally moving in the right direction and that property values are going to start to improve. It seems like they don’t want to get left behind on the property ladder."

Staff at estate agents across the borough all confirmed interest is high.

Debbie Taylor, sales negotiator at Lancasters, said: "There are currently a lot of buyers out there. We're seeing a lot more people coming through our doors and I would describe our mood as cautious optimism."

Online estate agent and property valuer, Zoopla, said sales figures for the past six months showed property prices in Barnsley rose by an average of 1.5 per cent.