City liv­ing in York is boom­ing but house hunt­ing is not easy

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tanya Cof­fey

THE city of York con­tin­ues to at­tract a plethora of buy­ers to its cob­bled streets. Its charms are ob­vi­ous to those of us that know and love her. The his­toric scenery, renowned shop­ping, restau­rants, trans­port links and ex­cel­lent schools all add up to create a vi­brant place in which to live and work.

There is no short­age of buy­ers here, which bucks the trend in many parts of York­shire. Yet there is a marked lack of sup­ply and this sup­ply and de­mand sit­u­a­tion means that prices are stay­ing strong even in the tough­est of eco­nomic mar­kets.

In fact, prop­er­ties are sell­ing so quickly, some homes are snapped up just days af­ter they are ad­ver­tised. Some streets are so pop­u­lar that prices are begin­ning to rise in the neigh­bour­ing streets as well. Even ar­eas that weren’t con­sid­ered as York’s prime lo­ca­tions be­fore have be­come “ones to watch”. We’ve seen this pos­i­tive rip­ple ef­fect across many ar­eas in Lon­don, but it’s some­thing rel­a­tively new to York.

One of the ben­e­fits of city cen­tre prop­erty is that stock is al­ways at a pre­mium. This is due to two rea­sons. Firstly, the num­ber of homes within the city cen­tre is lim­ited and, sec­ondly, peo­ple tend to stay in those homes for a long pe­riod of time, such is the ap­peal of city liv­ing here.

We are now see­ing many would-be buy­ers stay­ing in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion un­til their dream home comes on to the mar­ket. This is ex­cel­lent news for ven­dors, as pur­chasers of­ten have no chain and deals can be done in a mat­ter of days.

This will­ing­ness to wait for the long term and a strong loy­alty to the lo­ca­tion means it re­mains one of the best-per­form­ing ar­eas in terms of house prices in the whole of the North.

Our own re­search shows strong price per­for­mance and we have re­cently seen some sought-af­ter city cen­tre lo­ca­tions and homes make even more than 2007 peak level prices.

So what type of home are th­ese buy­ers ask­ing for? We find that many peo­ple are search­ing for a pe­riod prop­erty close to the city cen­tre, al­though we also have ex­am­ples of more con­tem­po­rary prop­er­ties sell­ing well. Even more likely to com­mand a pre­mium are houses with larger gar­dens and court­yards, garages or off street park­ing. Park­ing is hard to come by in the city.

Buy­ers love homes that have been mod­ernised to create an open plan kitchen and din­ing space and we find th­ese can spark com­pe­ti­tion that pushes them over the orig­i­nal ask­ing price. In fact, the av­er­age sale price in the last three months was 95.1 per cent of the ask­ing price, which is tes­ta­ment to the strength of the mar­ket here.

With the in­ter­net and the launch of our i-app, we do find that there aren’t as many view­ings as there were in the pre 2008 prop­erty boom. How­ever, those who do make the ef­fort are much more likely to be se­ri­ous buy­ers. In terms of who is look­ing to buy at the mo­ment, across all our sales in the last three years, 81 per cent of peo­ple have bought their home as a main res­i­dence, while 7 per cent of buy­ers have pur­chased as a sec­ond home. They also come from all over Bri­tain. We’ve re­cently seen buy­ers com­ing up from Lon­don and from other re­gions and there is a trend for fam­i­lies and down­siz­ers to move into the city from the sur­round­ing coun­try­side. There are many rea­sons why buy­ers choose city life over coun­try. Many clients want to cut down time on car jour­neys. With York’s ex­cel­lent rail links into Leeds, Lon­don, New­cas­tle and Ed­in­burgh, peo­ple can live here and work else­where without need­ing to drive ev­ery day. The Sci­ence Park, Aviva and nu­mer­ous other busi­nesses in the city mean it at­tracts pro­fes­sion­als who are able to live and work in York it­self.

The city’s pop­u­lar­ity shows no signs of abat­ing, how­ever there is a need for more sup­ply to come on to the mar­ket if we are to keep up with what ap­pears to be ever grow­ing de­mand.

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