Elec­tion fails to dampen hous­ing mar­ket ac­tiv­ity

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sharon Dale

AF­TER a cold, dead start to the year, there were fears that the elec­tion could fur­ther stall the prop­erty mar­ket’s re­cov­ery.

But there is ev­i­dence to the con­trary this week with a host of re­ports sug­gest­ing that house prices are edg­ing up­wards and there there are more sell­ers to­gether with a glut of would-be ten­ants.

House prices in York­shire rose by 0.6 per cent in April, ac­cord­ing to Fin­daProp­erty.com and Knight Frank re­vealed that coun­try house prices in the re­gion had gone up by 3.2 per cent over the past year.

Mort­gage lend­ing was up by 24 per cent last month and there is good news for land­lords as rental de­mand is boom­ing, ac­cord­ing the As­so­ci­a­tion of Res­i­den­tial Let­tings Agents.

But Kevin Hollinrake, of Hunters es­tate agency, says there is still some pre-elec­tion cau­tion. “In­struc­tions are up 62 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year while sales agreed are up only 10 per cent. I be­lieve that there are two rea­sons be­hind this dif­fer­en­tial and those are pre­elec­tion cau­tion and more op­ti­mistic ask­ing prices.

“But the good news is that len­ders are grad­u­ally get­ting more will­ing to lend, even up to 90 per cent of pur­chase price, and we are pretty con­fi­dent that this sit­u­a­tion will con­tinue.”

Pa­trick McCutcheon, of Dacre, Son and Hart­ley es­tate agents, agrees that Easter and the elec­tion have put a damper on ac­tiv­ity, but un­der­ly­ing sen­ti­ment is pos­i­tive.

“Com­par­ing the sales fig­ures for the first quar­ter of this year with 2009 just goes to show how poor last spring was and what sig­nif­i­cant strides the mar­ket has taken to­wards reach­ing a more ‘nor­mal’ level of trans­ac­tional ac­tiv­ity. I ex­pect that to im­prove once May 6 has passed.”

He adds that eq­uity rich buy­ers are snap­ping up first-time buyer prop­erty, while the first-time buyer with a small de­posit is still rare. There is a short­age of homes in the £300,000-£500,000 bracket, while de­mand for homes over £1m is strong. “We have sold two houses over the seven-fig­ure thresh­old alone this week out of the Ilk­ley of­fice and we ex­pect new list­ings to at­tract strong in­ter­est.”

Pa­trick says sales will con­tinue at a steady pace, while pric­ing re­mains flat this year with pos­si­ble growth next spring.

Ste­wart Charnock-Bates, of Charnock Bates es­tate agency in Hal­i­fax, be­lieves that the mar­ket is hold­ing up well de­spite the dis­trac­tions of the Gen­eral Elec­tion. “There is def­i­nite ev­i­dence to sug­gest that the re­ces­sion is very much be­hind us. One ex­am­ple of this was last week­end where a prop­erty was ad­ver­tised for the first time. We ar­ranged 10 view­ings and as a re­sult of this a sale has now been agreed above the ask­ing price.”

Will Lin­ley, di­rec­tor of let­tings agent Lin­ley & Simp­son, re­veals de­mand for rental prop­erty is soar­ing. “For the past year or so the mar­ket has re­lied on the ‘re­luc­tant’ land­lord, those who couldn’t sell and had to let their prop­er­ties in­stead. Prior to that, there was a healthy buyto-let mar­ket.

“Now we have nei­ther, and with ex­ist­ing ten­ants choos­ing to stay put, there are fewer prop­er­ties be­com­ing avail­able to re-let. As a re­sult, our avail­able stock is some 35 per cent down on this time last year, which is a trend be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by all agents across the UK.

“At the same time, de­mand from ten­ants re­mains as high as ever, so we are rapidly head­ing to­wards a short­age of prop­er­ties which will, in turn, re­sult in up­ward pres­sure on rents.”

HEAD TO HEAD: The elec­tion is not damp­en­ing the mar­ket.

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