Stability in the North West Property Market

3rd May 2017

Currently there is much speculation and often negative comment about the housing market across the UK in terms of sales.  Here Colin Tomlinson, Residential Sales and Lettings Director at H&H King and Michael CL Hodgson gives us an update on these reports in terms of the how they relate to the North West property market.

“These negative so called ‘headline statements’ are extremely frustrating,” says Colin.  “They severely dent the confidence of buyers and place negative thoughts in the minds of sellers who worry whether their home is going to decrease in value, particularly where the home is the most valuable asset.

“As one of Cumbria’s most progressive independent residential agents, with a network of four offices, we can see that the North West property market is very much more stable than the market in London and the South East.  We do not see their extreme fluctuations in Cumbria.” says Colin.

He continues: “We are finding that the market remains fairly stable, and we often sidestep the highs and lows that we hear about in other areas.  We are witnessing a more measured view on the market, although there are less houses coming on the market compared with spring last year.  My advice for those who want or need to move this year is they really should start to make firm plans to do so, rather than waiting until next year.”

Recently the Government’s aim was to build 250,000 new homes a year; a million by 2020.  Current figures are woefully short, 150,000 new starts in England, last year with just over 140,000 completions, but building new homes is not the total solution to the UK housing market, the fundamental underlying issue is affordability.

Commenting on this Colin said: “Across the UK, house prices are more than five times the average earnings for first time buyers, two or three times the equivalent figures in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

“The chances of a massive collapse in house prices or a large wage explosion are remote, so the Government must look at other ways to create a balanced and efficient housing market.  Ideas such as a comprehensive review of stamp duty which is currently suppressing the market, overhaul the council tax system which is still based on 1991 values, and to include house prices in the calculation of UK inflation which would force the Bank of England to respond to an overheated market by raising interest rates may work.  Presently only residential rental values are reflected in the inflation calculation.”

Although it is recognised that the local, regional market in Cumbria does not mirror the national trends, the obstacles outlined above do have a negative effect.  Traditionally the new year and spring bring positivity to the residential market, but this year has seen a sluggish start, with the number of appraisals and instructions lower than usual, but it is particularly pleasing to report that the viewings for new properties coming on to the market is high, but converting the interest into offers can be challenging.

Concluding Colin said: “It was anticipated that after the slow start this year, provided some of the obstacles outlined were addressed and resolved, that the market would improve in our region, but the announcement of another General Election will probably slow down the recent encouraging momentum”.

In this market which we operate in, experience counts and we continue to focus on a full service offering with convenient branches and experienced staff available for our clients. We recognise we are dealing with our client’s valuable asset and our team takes great pride in delivering successful outcomes – our reputation is built on this ethos.