As developers face-up to a slowdown in the housing market, things have never looked so good for prospective buyers with everything, including the kitchen sink, included in the price.

Helen Thomas reports on the deals developers are offering in their bid to sell homes.

NOW is the time to buy according to estate agents as more developers offer huge incentives to tempt buyers.

Discounts, stamp duty and free interior design packages are some of the deals being offered to try and improve sales of houses in the current slow market.

Mark Ledbury, manager of Davies and Davies estate agents in Trowbridge, said: "As far as new home deals are concerned, it's become very difficult to sell them without offering incentives.

"Some buyers are getting stamp duty paid or free carpets and in some instances have had cash back from developers.

"For example the developer can show on paper a gross sale of £200,000 but in reality it was £175,000."

New developments continue to pop up all over the county despite the relatively slow market.

Maurice Beale, a partner at Kingstons estate agents in Trowbridge, said: "It is the right time to buy. Last year 90-95 per cent of homes were getting the asking price.

"This year there is a bit more lateral thinking because there are more properties on the market and less buyers. Nationally the whole market is down by 15 per cent."

Persimmon Homes, which has developments in Calne, Trowbridge and Corsham is offering a Headstart deal for first time buyers.

The deal includes five per cent deposit paid, £500 towards legal fees and £1,000 cash back for certain apartments.

Another offer is the gold star plot buy, which is available on some of the sites and includes stamp duty, turfed rear gardens and free carpets.

Heidi and Pete Davenport, who bought a Persimmon Homes house in Katharine Park, Corsham, managed to get a cash reduction on their four bedroom detached home.

Although the house was on the market for £314,999, after consultation with developers they managed to get £10,000 knocked off the asking price.

The couple, who have a two-year-old daughter Saskia, were able to move in last month.

Mrs Davenport said: "The house is lovely and has a good sized garden which was one thing we were looking for.

"With £10,000 off, there was nothing else on the market that could touch it.

"With the price of stamp duty the money off was a real bonus."

Other developers are offering similar deals while Bryant Homes is offering a chain breaker scheme, where it buys a house holding up a sale lower down the chain.

A survey published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors confirmed the amount of unsold properties is still relatively high and that July saw a further rise in the number of houses on the market.

But it also suggested price declines are at their slowest for five months.

RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf said: "Some signs of recovery are evident in the market. Would-be buyers have become more confident as a result of the interest rate outlook, while the economy continues to deliver steady growth, despite the past year's slowdown.

"The August interest rate cut will support a further rise in buyer activity, though there is little prospect of a renewed house price boom anytime soon."